US needs to cooperate with world, especially China, to tackle virus

By Zhang Yi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/1 21:18:40

People buy water, food and toilet paper at a store in Los Angeles, California on Saturday, as they have begun stockpiling essentials amid fears of dwindling supplies during a possible COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic. Photo: AFP

A shopper pushes his cart in Alhambra, California on Thursday. Some Americans have begun stockpiling essentials amid fears of dwindling supplies during a possible COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic. Photo: AFP

As the novel coronavirus continues to hit beyond China and spread across the world, globalization naysayers have begun to indulge in fervid talking about the coming apart of world interconnectedness. Indeed, the public panic caused by the outbreak of novel coronavirus illustrates how one country is connected with another and how a slowing economy affects the global industrial supply chain. They argue that the deadly coronavirus signals an end to globalization. 

This is an easy and rash conclusion but it does not solve the problem that the whole world is facing. The coronavirus epidemic is the very proof of the width and depth of an unprecedented process of globalization which cannot be interrupted. The only required global response is cooperation. 

The reaction of the West, especially the US, at the initial stage of the outbreak in China was selfish and short-sighted. The US media outlets have spared no efforts denouncing China's system and quite a number of China hawks in the Trump administration seized the moment to verbally attack China and clamor for a break with China. 

As the global crisis triggered by the coronavirus deepens, it is clear that without global cooperation, no country can stand alone. As the coronavirus has already found a foothold in the US, this world superpower should rethink its decoupling strategy and seek cooperation with China.

During the weekend, the US reported its first coronavirus case of "unknown" origin. Fears of a shortage of facial masks and other protective outfits are gaining traction in the US and relevant agencies are reaching out to medical product manufacturers around the globe, according to US media reports. This is exactly where China can make up the shortage. Chinese companies are ramping up production of facial masks to meet surging demand at home and abroad, and ensure no disruption of the global supply chain. 

The US has been concerned as health officials reported the first US drug shortage because of disrupted production in China: China ranks second among countries that send drugs and biotech medicines to the US. This makes the decoupling of the world's two largest economies impossible and also shows that US concerns cannot be eased by decoupling with China. 

The establishment of the current world order came through globalization, with the US taking a leading role. But when China caught up in recent years, the US has been trying to thwart globalization and reshape the world order, a process that will only jeopardize its own interests in an already globalized world. The Trump administration's advocacy of decoupling with China has hurt cooperation in the public health sector, which has affected not only China in its fight against the coronavirus, but also the US. 

By calling for a break with China, US hard-liners are invoking a break with the world. No matter how selfish it is, the US should at least leave some room for rationality in its China strategy. 

If the US wants to overcome the epidemic crisis as soon as possible, it must adopt a cooperative manner with the rest of the world, especially China. 

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