US blame game threatens G7’s legitimacy

By Li Aixin Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/27 1:33:39

COVID-19 cases in G7 nations. Photo: GT



One day before Thursday's G20 emergency video summit on COVID-19 pandemic, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stepped up his stigmatization of China at a G7 foreign ministers' meeting, calling on the G7 member states to refer to the virus as the "Wuhan virus."

At a time when millions of lives are shadowed by the spread of the virus, Pompeo's blame game appears both dangerous and selfish, as he aims to exploit the crisis for political purposes that could jeopardize the world's efforts to rein in the pandemic, analysts said. 

His move also hurts G7's legitimacy as the group has become too invested in its own interests, that even a global health crisis couldn't wake the US from its Cold War mentality.

Pompeo said G7 members were united in opposing China's coronavirus "disinformation" during the news conference after the meeting, blaming China right after he claimed now was not the time to blame, but to focus on methods to control the outbreak. 

Pompeo's remarks and the constant US attacks on China show his Cold War mindset, which is provoking hatred when Beijing and Washington should have been promoting cooperation, experts believe. 

"If the mindset is not abandoned, it will solve neither the global healthcare crisis nor any national or international security issue," Li Haidong, professor at the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, told Global Times on Thursday.

In terms of the Pompeo-mentioned unity among the leading industrialized democracies, the absence of a joint statement said a lot. 

The Sina Weibo account of the US Embassy in China, under the jurisdiction of the Pompeo-led US Department of State, changed its previous use of the term "coronavirus" to "Wuhan virus" on Thursday and mentioned the phrase four times the same day. 

In one of its posts, the Embassy made groundless accusations that "Iran's chief terror airline, Mahan Air, ran at least 55 flights between Tehran and China, further spreading the Wuhan virus to Iranian people… At least five foreign countries' first cases of infections were directly imported from Iran, putting millions more lives at risk."

Such a move is stirring up more trouble in the world which is already struggling to contain the pandemic, analysts said.

The pandemic is supposed to be lesson to the world on the importance of global cooperation and strong global institutions, observers emphasized. But the current administration in Washington "never sees the need for a multilateral approach," Fraser Cameron, director of the EU-Asia Centre and senior advisor at the European Policy Centre (EPC), told Global Times.

As the world expects answers and practical solutions to the crisis and not unnecessary disagreements, the G7 failed to address the problem. 

Since the outbreak, the G7 has held a series of meetings on COVID-19, which aim to promote the countries' awareness of the pandemic, but the bloc's capability to execute is poor, observers said. 

Setting aside their divergences on governance of the global economic system and responding to measures to cope with the pandemic, "G7 members are suffering from a severe lack of medical resources themselves, including face masks, ventilators and protective suits. How can they possibly contribute to other regions when they cannot even take care of themselves?" Li asked.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the US administration was looking into an exclusive deal to take over a German company, which is working on a vaccine against the coronavirus. And Berlin was "furious" at the US attempt.

The sun is setting on the G7, said Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies. The view was echoed by more experts, who believe it might be time to consider whether the G7, an exclusive organization which focuses only on their own issues, can be merged with the G20, a club of developed and developing countries, as well as emerging economies, which far surpasses G7 in terms of representation of global affairs.

"It's time for the G20 to spread hope," George N. Tzogopoulos, a lecturer at the European Institute in Nice, France, told Global Times on Thursday.



Posted in: DIPLOMACY,CHINA FOCUS

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