E. Asia's pandemic fight shouldn't be misled by West assessment
Published: Dec 17, 2020 12:33 PM

US virus fight Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The epidemic situation in South Korea and Japan has taken a sudden turn for the worse. This reversal is now seeing new daily cases top 1,000 in South Korea, and 2,000 to 3,000 in Japan. 

With a population and land area about the size of East China's Zhejiang Province, so this spike in South Korea is extremely serious.

South Korea and Japan originally had good foundations for fighting the virus. Most Western media listed them in the top 10 countries which had done the best job in combating the pandemic. Sometimes they were even ranked ahead of China. It seems that the Western public opinion deliberately framed South Korea's and Japan's anti-pandemic way against China's way. 

As far as I am concerned, we must not care too much about these opinions and avoid being misled by them. The battle with the coronavirus is a battle of science in which humans have to pay some price inevitably, which includes sacrificing a little freedom at some critical times. Although different countries have different national conditions, the law of epidemic prevention generally outweighs other things. This will always be the case, whether people are willing to accept it or not.

The US has shown its brutality with its epidemic battle - it has tolerated an incredible number of deaths, more than 300,000. But the situation in the East Asia is different. No matter what the countries' political system is, people in the region have shown great concern over the pandemic. The drop in approval ratings for South Korea President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga indicates this point. As such, East Asian societies mustn't be affected by Western public opinion. They shouldn't become reluctant to eliminate COVID-19, otherwise they will pay the price. 

South Korea is considering whether to implement a nationwide lockdown. Japan will suspend its subsidy program for promoting domestic tourism nationwide during the upcoming New Year holidays. The economies of the two countries will surely suffer from the latest round of epidemic. 

Both Japan and South Korea haven't made breakthroughs in their own vaccines research and development. They should not expect substantial vaccine support from the US this winter. The two countries are facing severe tests. I hope the new anti-epidemic measures adopted by the two countries yield positive results quickly to prevent this winter from being ruined by the virus. Japan is tentatively scheduled to hold the Olympic Games next summer. I especially wish it can overcome this new wave of the epidemic as soon as possible.  

The author is editor-in-chief of the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn