Trump’s ‘Chinese Virus’ tweet foreshadows escalating clash

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/17 22:12:47

US President Donald Trump attends a news conference at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States on Friday. Photo: Xinhua

US President Donald Trump used the phrase "Chinese Virus" in a tweet expressing his support for various US sectors following the Wall Street bloodbath on Monday. Highlighting the new coronavirus' foreign origin - which is still uncertain - raised a red flag indicating Trump and his team will likely play the China card to divert domestic attention from a botched handling of the virus to attacking China. 

With the coronavirus spreading fast in the US, the Trump administration is now coming under fire for earlier misleading virus claims and a botched response. Moreover, until late February Trump was proud of the booming stock market, which would certainly score him political points in the upcoming election. Then, a circuit breaker was hit three times within six trading days to halt market plunges in a humiliating defeat for Trump. 

Compared to effectively fighting the pandemic, which could be too difficult for everyone to understand and cooperate on, it is much easier for some in Washington to scapegoat China, deflecting political blame for the spreading virus and its impact on the financial market.

What's worse, the improper nomenclature from Trump and his ilk may be just the start of escalated China-US tensions in a wide range of fields like trade, economic exchanges and politics. In this sense, China needs to be prepared for the re-escalation of China-US trade conflict in the coming period. Based on the experience of the trade war, China must not hesitate to strike back once the US attempts to exert pressure and deflect domestic criticism toward China.

In terms of pandemic prevention and control, China is at least one month ahead of Italy, which in turn is one or two weeks ahead of countries like France, the UK and the US. 

That means China is ahead of the time curve, which gives it an upper hand in bringing the virus under control. Despite the heavy price paid for the country's strict quarantine, China will likely be the first to recover from the coronavirus hit. 

Globally speaking, if we can steer economic activities back to gear in the first quarter, then China would be about two months ahead of the rest of the world in terms of economic recovery. While spillover effects from global market and global supply chain disruptions may be inevitable, China's domestic market and consumption recovery will still be enough to attract foreign investment and maintain the nation's role in supply chains amid the global turmoil.

And that's exactly what China should do to cope with pressure from Washington. Focusing on our own work and pulling the Chinese economy back is the best option. As long as our economy stabilizes, China will have enough strength to resist US pressure and hit back at the right moment.

Posted in: GT VOICE

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