US ac­cu­sa­tions ‘base­less, un­fair’

China Daily Global Edi­tion (USA), United States of Amer­ica, 28 Septem­ber 2020, https://www.pressreade­­ti­cle/2815608832­37172

COVID-19 News - - News -

The United States’ ac­cu­sa­tions against China on COVID-19 at the United Na­tions gath­er­ings were base­less and po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated to shift blame, stir up elec­tion bub­bles and con­tain China’s rise, for­eign pol­icy an­a­lysts have said.

They said US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is dodg­ing per­sonal blame for his re­spon­si­bil­ity for the US’ fail­ure in face of the pan­demic while us­ing dis­crim­i­na­tory lan­guage about the virus and ac­cus­ing China at the gen­eral de­bate of the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly.

Such ac­cu­sa­tions against China were ground­less and un­fair, the ex­perts said.

Nas­reen Agha, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions at Quaid-iazam Univer­sity in Islamabad, said the US turns out to be one of the hard­est hit coun­tries by COVID-19 is “not be­cause of what has been al­leged by some in the US of a Chi­nese ‘cover-up’”.

“In­stead, it is be­cause of the White House’s de­layed re­sponse when there were warn­ing signs” from China and the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, the UN agency from which the White House pulled out.

Failed badly

“Trump is him­self to be blamed for more than 200,000 deaths of Amer­i­cans at the hands of COVID-19. He badly failed to de­vise a strat­egy to counter COVID-19,” an Is­lam­abad­based Euro­pean diplo­mat said on con­di­tion of anonymity.

He said a ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans have turned against Trump for fail­ing to pro­tect the world’s most pow­er­ful na­tion with its most ad­vanced med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties. “His as­ser­tion against China will pick up pace in the weeks to come only to get po­lit­i­cal sup­port. This is just a blame game.

“As a mat­ter of fact, he is try­ing to hide his fail­ures by hurling ac­cu­sa­tions against China.”

Con­trary to Trump’s ac­cu­sa­tions, Za­far Mirza, Pak­istan’s for­mer spe­cial as­sis­tant to prime min­is­ter on health, said China had im­me­di­ately in­formed the

WHO after it de­tected the virus. Hence, Trump’s ac­cu­sa­tions are false and un­fair.

“To the best of my knowl­edge, China in­formed the WHO about the novel coro­n­avirus in a timely fash­ion. It had un­der­taken ex­em­plary mea­sures to con­tain the virus. I believe Trump’s al­le­ga­tions against China are base­less and po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated,” he said.

Tas­neem As­lam, Pak­istan’s for­mer se­nior diplo­mat, who also served as for­eign sec­re­tary for Euro­pean Af­fairs, said: “What­ever the cause, China has be­haved with great re­spon­si­bil­ity both in con­trol­ling the virus within its bor­ders and in help­ing coun­tries con­tain the virus by pro­vid­ing crit­i­cal equip­ment. This fact has been ac­knowl­edged by the WHO as well.

“The US ac­cu­sa­tions, there­fore, have lit­tle cred­i­bil­ity.”

How­ever, politi­cians in the US usu­ally try to win votes by “Chin­abash­ing”, and this prac­tice in­creases greatly be­fore the US elec­tions.

“Con­sid­er­ing that Trump has been per­son­ally blamed for a failed pol­icy and an abysmal re­sponse to COVID19 do­mes­ti­cally, his mor­bid be­hav­ior be­comes very clear so close to the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tions,” said Aamir Ghauri, an Is­lam­abad­based for­eign pol­icy ex­pert and founder and di­rec­tor of the South Asia Fu­ture Fo­rum. “He doesn’t want his vot­ers to see or know his fail­ure. Hence, blam­ing China is very nat­u­ral. It’s all pol­i­tics.”

“It’s an elec­tion year in the US. China-bash­ing helps, so all is fair in pol­i­tics,” said Ab­dul Ba­sit, a Pak­istani diplo­mat who served as high com­mis­sioner of Pak­istan to In­dia and Pak­istan’s am­bas­sador to Ger­many.

Ris­ing in­flu­ence

Another rea­son for the US pres­i­dent’s as­ser­tion against China is China’s ris­ing in­flu­ence in al­most ev­ery field, rang­ing from eco­nom­ics to mo­bile apps and tourism, which is mak­ing the US wor­ried.

“Since the US now openly iden­ti­fies China as its main com­peti­tor in global pol­i­tics,

Trump’s inces­sant ac­cu­sa­tions are very un­der­stand­able,” Ghauri said. “But we need to see his re­marks more closely.”

Re­search has re­vealed China has emerged as a heavy­weight dur­ing the last decade, fol­low­ing the vi­sion of the Com­mu­nist Party of China.

A re­port from the Kiel In­sti­tute for the World Econ­omy, a Ger­man re­search group, es­ti­mates China’s lend­ing to the de­vel­op­ing world at more than $520 bil­lion. Ac­cord­ing to the in­sti­tute’s re­port, the US would be un­able to match the scale of China’s in­vest­ment, mak­ing China a big­ger len­der than the World Bank or the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund.

“China’s rise and global spend­ing has given Trump sleep­less nights. His state­ments against China are base­less. He’s just try­ing to score points by ‘China-bash­ing’ ahead of gen­eral elec­tions in the US,” said So­hail Bhatti, an Is­lam­abad­based for­eign pol­icy ex­pert.

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