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China’s role in US-North Korea stand-off limited

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Super power USA continues to decide for the entire world and imposes its will on those that remain unwilling to follow the footsteps capitalist imperialists. American strategists believe continued pressure tactics and threatening tone of USA have made tremendous impact even on its strongest opponent Soviet Russia to fall in line by breaking up the mighty Soviet state and its Warsaw Pact military alliance and also forced its ally China to take a conciliatory approach in order to raise trade with capitalist nations. 

Today, Iran and North Korea are the two nations that are stubborn and refuse to abide US rules. And so Washington pushes for punitive measures to weaken them by taking up the nuclear issue even while it is unserious about total denuclearization and disarmament globally. Both are indeed scared of USA and its terror ally Israel and therefore update their missile capabilities with regular missile tests. But USA calls these a serious threat to  American security.  .

USA opposes rapid missile tests being conducted by Iran and North Korea though it also is engaged in such terror operations as a routine matter. . 

ICBM celebrated

North Korea’s recent long-range missile tests have deepened concern about the threat Pyongyang poses to the US mainland, and strengthened determination here to prevent any strike. North Korea said it had conducted another successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that proved its ability to strike the US mainland, drawing a sharp warning from Trump and a rebuke from China. The latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) celebrated by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was the latest to be conducted in defiance of a UN ban. “We do not seek a regime change, we do not seek the collapse of the regime, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula, we do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel,” said Mr Tillerson, referring to the border between the Koreas.

North’s leader, Kim Jong Un, supervised the midnight launch of the missile and called it a “stern warning” to the USA that it would not be safe from destruction if it tried to attack China or its allies. However, two US intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Monday Kim wants to develop a nuclear-capable ICBM to deter any attack on his country and gain international legitimacy, not to launch an attack on the USA or its allies that he knows would be suicidal.

The ejection test was carried out on land at Sinpo Naval Shipyard, the US defense official told CNN. It gave no other details about the increased submarine activity. Ejection tests from submarines usually gauge the ability to “cold launch” missiles, when high pressure steam is used to propel missiles out of launch canisters. The shipyard is in Sinpo, a port city on the east coast where the North had previously conducted tests of submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

Acknowledgement

The Pentagon acknowledged that the latest test represented the longest test flight of any North Korean missile. The missile could fly at least 3,420 miles, the minimum range for what the Pentagon classifies as an ICBM. Two separate US officials who discussed the latest test, which lasted about 45 minutes, said it showed greater range than the July 4 ICBM launch, which North Korea said lasted 39 minutes. One of the officials said it had greater height, range and power than the previous test because it used force stabilizing engines, which counter the effects of winds and other forces that can knock an ascending rocket off course. A US defense official, reported later that North Korea had been showing “highly unusual and unprecedented levels” of submarine activity, in addition to its third “ejection test” this month.

According to a US assessment, North Korea’s latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile has shown that Pyongyang now may be able to reach most of the continental USA. The assessment, which the officials discussed on condition of anonymity, underscored the growing threat posed by Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs, and could add pressure on President Donald Trump’s administration to respond. Video of the latest missile test appears to show it breaking up before landing, indicating Pyongyang may not yet have mastered re-entry technology needed for an operational nuclear-tipped missile.

Range

Pyongyang claimed its latest missile could hit the US west coast.

Independent weapons experts also said they believed the launch demonstrated many parts of the USA were within range if the missile had been launched at a flattened trajectory. The top Democrat in the US Senate called on President Donald Trump to block some Chinese investments in the USA to pressure China “to help rein in North Korea’s threatening and destabilizing behavior.”

The Pentagon acknowledged military-to-military talks with US allies Japan and South Korea after the test. While the test missile had a lofted trajectory rather than the more direct one required to reach the USA, the military takes the threat seriously. The Hwasong-14, named after the Korean word for Mars, reached an altitude of 2,314.6 miles and flew 620 miles before landing in the waters off the Korean peninsula’s east coast, according to KCNA. The flight demonstrated successful stage separation, and reliability of the vehicle’s control and guidance to allow the warhead to make an atmospheric re-entry under conditions harsher than under a normal long-range trajectory, KCNA said.

A White House statement after the phone call said the two leaders “agreed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat to the USA, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and other countries near and far”.  It said Trump “reaffirmed our ironclad commitment” to defend Japan and South Korea from any attack, using the full range of US capabilities.  A Republican senator said President Donald Trump had told him there would be a war with North Korea if its missile program continued. One Is not very sure if he was joking.

China scapegoat?

President Trump who seems to have soft corner for Russia for unknown reasons, has repeatedly urged China to rein in its ally North Korea and has repeatedly criticised China, which shares a land border with North Korea and is its closest economically, for not doing enough to stop Pyongyang’s weapons program. Trump tweeted after the missile test that he was “very disappointed” in China and that Beijing profits from US trade but had done “nothing” for the USA with regards to North Korea, something he would not allow to continue. Asked by a reporter how he plans to deal with Pyongyang, Trump said at the start of a Cabinet meeting: “We’ll handle North Korea… It will be handled.”

China hit back after US President Donald Trump tweeted he was “very disappointed” in China following North Korea’s latest missile test, saying the problem did not arise in China and that all sides need to work for a solution.  China has become increasingly frustrated with American and Japanese criticism that it should do more to rein in Pyongyang.

China is North Korea’s closest ally, but Beijing, too, is angry with its continued nuclear and missile tests. China’s Foreign Ministry, responding to Trump’s earlier tweets, said the North Korean nuclear issue did not arise because of China and that everyone needed to work together to seek a resolution. 

At the UN in New York, China’s UN ambassador Liu Jieyi said it is primarily up to the USA and North Korea, not Beijing, to reduce tensions and work toward resuming talks to end Pyongyang’s nuclear weapon and missile programs. The USA and North Korea “hold the primary responsibility to keep things moving, to start moving in the right direction, not China,” China’s U Liu Jieyi told a news conference to mark the end of Beijing’s presidency of the UN Security Council in July. “No matter how capable China is, China’s efforts will not yield practical results because it depends on the two principal parties,” Liu said. China said there was no link between the North Korea issue and China-US trade. “We think the North Korea nuclear issue and China-U.S. trade are issues that are in two completely different domains. They aren’t related. They should not be discussed together”.

China, with which North Korea does most of its trade, has repeatedly said it strictly follows UN resolutions on North Korea and has denounced unilateral US sanctions as unhelpful. Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN, said in a statement China must decide if it is willing to back imposing stronger UN sanctions on North Korea over Friday night’s long-range missile test, the North’s second this month. Any new UN Security Council resolution “that does not significantly increase the international pressure on North Korea is of no value”, Haley said, adding that Japan and South Korea also needed to do more.

China’s close ally Russia said the USA and other countries were trying “to shift responsibility for the situation to Russia and China” following the most recent missile test. “We view as groundless attempts undertaken by the USA and a number of other countries to shift responsibility to Russia and China, almost blaming Moscow and Beijing for indulging the missile and nuclear ambitions of the DPRK (North Korea),” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Options

The Pentagon said it has updated military options, but at the same time says a confrontation would be catastrophic. In light of that, US foreign minister Tillerson repeated at length that the US wasn’t seeking regime change and said the goal was dialogue, but one not based on the assumption that North Korea could keep its nuclear weapons. Pyongyang has categorically refused such terms.

Rex Tillerson, the secretary of states, says that the US government, unlike in West Asia, is not seeking a regime change in North Korea, amid tensions over Pyongyang’s weapons program. “We’re not your enemy,” Rex Tillerson said, adding that the US wanted a dialogue at some point. As always, there are no good options when it comes to North Korea, but less time to pursue them. The strategy, said Tillerson, is a sustained campaign of peaceful but intensifying economic pressure to change its mind. But given the advances in ballistic technology demonstrated by the recent ICBM tests, there’s growing doubt that denuclearization is a realistic possibility. However, Tillerson took a more diplomatic approach, saying that “only the North Koreans are to blame for this situation”. “But,” he added, “we do believe China has a special and unique relationship, because of this significant economic activity, to influence the North Korean regime in ways that no one else can.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke with Trump and agreed on the need for more action on North Korea just hours after the US Ambassador to the UN said Washington is “done talking about North Korea”. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke with Trump and agreed on the need for more action on North Korea, hours after the US Ambassador to the UN said Washington was “done talking about North Korea”.

Japanese PM Abe and Trump did not discuss military action against North Korea, nor what would constitute the crossing of a “red line” by Pyongyang, Abe told reporters after his conversation with Trump that repeated efforts by the international community to find a peaceful solution to the North Korean issue had yet to bear fruit in the face of Pyongyang’s unilateral “escalation”. “International society, including Russia and China, need to take this seriously and increase pressure,” Abe said. He added Japan and the United States would take steps towards concrete action but did not give details. Pyongyang is determined to develop its nuclear and missile program and does not care about military threats from the USA and South Korea.  “How could Chinese sanctions change the situation?”

The US officials say while China worries about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, and the US reaction to them, its overriding concern is to avoid a North Korean collapse, which could strengthen US interference in the region send millions of refugees fleeing toward China and lead to a reunified Korea allied with Washington.

Trade

China’s direct investment in the USA quadrupled from 2015 to 2016, to $48 billion annually. The task force this year faces what could well be a record number of deals, many of them controversial as Chinese firms scout USA targets as varied as hotels and film studios to hedge against a weaker yuan.

The purpose of CFIUS, a national security vehicle to try to make sure that high-tech investments by foreign countries don’t steal the US cutting-edge technology, is to contain China. USA has urged changes at CFIUS because of China because it was not North Korea but that China would close the technology gap between the U.S. and Chinese militaries. In an interview with Reuters, the top US counter-intelligence official suggested the Trump administration was already working on a plan to toughen CFIUS. US plan to prohibit CFIUS from approving Chinese deals would be technically legal but would stretch CFIUS’ mandate, What sounds like effectively a bar on Chinese investment that is being suggested is probably legal but quite different than the case-by-case process that CFIUS has used in the past,” said Stephen Heifetz of the law firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP who represents clients before CFIUS. The USA government should consider the potential for a Chinese response.”

Meanwhile, the USA flew two supersonic B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula in a show of force in response to the missile test and the July 3 launch of the “Hwasong-14” rocket, the Pentagon said. The bombers took off from a US air base in Guam and were joined by Japanese and South Korean fighter jets during the exercise. “North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability,” Pacific Air Forces commander General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy said in a statement. “If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing.”

Observation: force Israel to dismantle its illegal nukes

One fails to understand how the routine military operations of Iran and North Korea should cause problems for or in USA. If, for instance, Iran and North Korea are made nuclear free can tensions be put to end when Israel continues to boss over West Asia and use its illegally obtained nukes as a serious threat to world peace, particularly in Mideast. 

How can the USA expect China which faces perpetual threat from Washington, to take its orders to boss over a soverign but its ally North Korea by asking it to serve the superpower and give up its legitimate nuclear ambitions, when it is unable to reign in the fascist operations of its close ally Israel in Palestine and Middle East?

Americans are not going to offer any direct answer and nor do we expect any such explanations. But why does Washington expect China to work for Neocons to end abruptly nuclear ambitions of North Korea and why not asks Russia also do that? The Kremlin does not take orders from Washington.

US strategists argue that China will not deter North Korea unless the USA exacts greater economic pressure on China. The USA must send a clear message to China’s government. And hence Trump pushes for the Chinese action. But China’s UN ambassador Liu Jieyi has said that it was up to Washington and Pyongyang to work toward talks on North Korea’s weapons programs.

So, it is all a part of a nuclear drama being staged by UN veto members to terrorize the people of the world. The terrorism operations are also controlled by these big powers.  . 

Ultimately, it all comes to business and China wants both balanced trade with the USA and lasting peace on the Korean peninsula. However, to realize these goals, Beijing needs a more cooperative partner in the White House, not one who piles blame on China for American failures.

Despite the ongoing tests, most experts believe Pyongyang does not yet have the capability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead, fit it on to a long-range missile, and ensure it is protected until delivery to the target. They say many of North Korea’s missiles cannot accurately hit targets. Others, however, believe that at the rate it is going, Pyongyang may overcome these challenges and develop a nuclear weapon within five to 10 years that could strike the USA

UN needs to pass a resolution to put an end to nuclear race and first punish all those powers that have WMD threatening world peace in several regions.

 Israel has amassed WMD illegally with help from USA-UK terror twins but the UN and IAEA have not questioned Israel because USA with veto decides that matter.

Before asking North Korea and Iran to give up their legitimate nuclear ambitions, let Israel be denuclearized first.

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East Asia

Taiwan: The First and Oldest ‘Thorn’ between China and the West

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Over three hundred and fifty years ago, when the West lost its first war with China over Taiwan, the technological level between the two sides was fairly even. But the Dutch, then the most dynamic colonial power, paid a heavy price for misbelieving “China might have invented gunpowder but we possess superior guns.” Today, the world is witnessing China’s rapid rise and the US is in decline. The question is, will Taiwan once again bust the Western (aka US) superiority myth?                                                                         

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In 1662, the West fought its first war with China and lost. The Sino-Dutch War, as it is called now, was fought when a Chinese admiral dared the Dutch East India Company to give up its little under half century ‘rule’ over Taiwan. The defeat resulted in the island falling under Chinese rule for the first time in history. It is not so important to know it was China’s first great victory over Europe’s most dynamic colonial power. In the words of the Dutch historian, Tonio Andrade, what is more significant is the first Chinese victory over the West broke the myth of Western superiority as it had been achieved on the basis of “Chinese advantage in strategic and tactical culture.” (Emphasis added) The Chinese victory also broke another myth which the Western historians held on to until as recently as in 1970s, i.e., the Chinese might have invented the gunpowder but didn’t know how to use it as weapon, Andrade, the author  went on to add.

Fast forward to the present-day tensions in the Taiwan Strait. As China embarked on the path of Reform and Opening-up, relations between Beijing and Taipei too started improving in the early 1980s. Seen as a remarkable political development on both sides of the Taiwan Strait in 45 years, the KMT government in Taipei declared in 1991 “an end to the war with the People’s Republic of China on the mainland.” However, since the election of Chen Shui-bian as president in 2000, political headwinds in Taiwan have been moving in the opposite direction to Beijing. Alarmed by Chen’s backing of demands for Taiwan’s independence, Beijing was quick to pass anti-secession law a year after Chen was reelected in 2004.

In 2016, following Donald Trump’s victory in US and the victory of Ms. Tsai Ing-wen as Taiwan’s president respectively, Beijing’s fear of Taiwan declaring itself an independent country has reached unprecedented levels. In fact, Beijing is feeling seriously threatened by the US role in creating conditions for Taiwan to declare independence. Immediately upon assuming office, President Trump held telephone conversation with the Taiwan president – something which no other US had done in the preceding forty years. This was the beginning of a new trend in US-China relations and which grossly undermined the “One China” policy.

During the past decade (between 2007 and 2019), the US warships made over one hundred trips through the Taiwan Strait. No wonder Beijing has been describing Taiwan as “the most important sensitive issue in Sino-US relations.” According to New Strait Times, in 2020, the year of Coronavirus pandemic, the cross-strait faced its worst crisis in the past two decades. Without denying that the PLA fighter planes crossed maritime border with Taiwan, China however dismissed Taipei’s claims of “incursions” by the mainland. Beijing even maintained its warplanes, bombers and anti-submarine aircrafts “conducted normal exercises on September 18 and 19 respectively and that the median line never existed.”

However, according to experts, the median line is the unofficial airspace boundary between Taiwan and China, and was demarcated by US Air Force General Benjamin Davis Jr. in 1955, before the US pressured both sides to enter into a tacit agreement not to cross it. Media reports originating from Taipei, Hong Kong and Singapore claimed the forty or more PLA incursions last October, were prompted by two US top officials visiting Taipei during August-September period last year. “U.S. Under Secretary of State Keith Krach arrived in Taiwan on Thursday for the second visit by a high-level American official in two months. The first visit was by the US Health Secretary Alex Azar in August 2020.” The visits by Krach and Azar respectively were first highest-level US Cabinet visits to Taiwan – in gross violation of the US commitments to China – since the US switched formal relations from Taiwan to Beijing in 1979.

This year, especially within hours following President entered the White House, the new US administration lost no time in announcing “our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid.” Two days earlier, the State Department invited and officially received Taiwan’s unofficial ambassador in Washington to Biden’s inauguration – the first envoy from the island present at a presidential swearing-in since 1979. Both the statement of commitment to Taiwan and the presence of Taiwanese envoy at the presidential inauguration respectively were interpreted by strategic affairs experts in Washington and Beijing as moves to provoke China towards making a strategic mistake leading to military conflict.

Further, Taiwan has returned as “thorniest” issue in US-China relations under President Biden – since perhaps it is easier to violate “One China” policy than to either rally European allies against China or to announce a decisive Washington position toward Beijing. As President Biden gears up to embark on his maiden in-person visit to shake hands or bump elbows with his European allies, the US administration has further escalated tensions over Taiwan. Last Sunday, a bipartisan contingent of three US Senators – Tammy Duckworth and Christopher Coons, both Democrats, and Dan Sullivan, a Republican – briefly visited Taiwan on a US military aircraft.  According to media reports, the Chinese Defense Ministry described the visit as “extremely vile provocation.” Reuters citing Chinese sources said China believes that “Biden administration is challenging one-China principle and trying to achieve the so-called goal of ‘using Taiwan to control’ China.” 

Experts in Beijing point out, Biden is accelerating the pitch of what started under Obama and was intensified by Trump, i.e., to use “the US economic and military might to pressure Beijing and force it to accept US hegemony in the region.” Elsewhere, first the joint statement following Biden-Suga summit in April and then in late May the statement released after the summit meeting between European leaders and Japan’s Prime Minister Suga, are being interpreted as “belligerent stances towards Beijing initiated and encouraged by President Biden.” The EU-Japan post-summit statement called for “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” Similar to several moves initiated by Trump and Biden challenging one-China policy, the EU-Suga joint statement too is the first time that Taiwan has been included in such a statement. 

A scholar in Tianjin, who writes a column for ftchinese.com, the daily online Mandarin version of the Financial Times, thinks Biden has intensified the so-called Thucydides trap. In a recent article, he has actually put forward a solution for Beijing to not only avoid falling into the trap, but also steer clear of having to choose between using force to reunify with Taiwan and being forced into military conflict with the US by striking first. To sum up Li Yongning’s rather long thesis, he prescribes that China fight out Thucydides trap with economic growth and people’s prosperity. To prove his point, Li flashes the example of de-escalation of hostility between China and Japan. Remember until a few years ago, heightened tensions between the two over Diaoyu or Senkaku Islands. Of late, especially since the middle of Xi Jinping’s first five year tenure, belligerent provocations between Beijing and Tokyo have almost ceased.

How did China under Xi achieve this? According to Li, Xi’s strategy to strike peace and tranquility with Japan was simple and practical. “China’s GDP exceeded Japan’s in 2010 and by 2019 it became 2.8 times more than Japan’s, which put an end to Sino-Japan competitiveness. Likewise, once China achieves one and a half times or twice bigger GDP of the USA, the China-US competitiveness will be rendered as joke,” Li contended. In 2017, in PPP terms China had already exceeded the US economy. Li cited a Brookings Institution report which predicted China’s GDP will cross America’s in 2028. “Once China reaches there, higher GDP will act as shock absorber for all Sino-US conflicts,” Li wrote.

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China’s know-how on becoming the oldest society in the world

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china bicycle

For decades, China had a “one-child policy” that permitted families to have only one child. A few years ago, this restriction was changed to a “two-child policy”, and now the Chinese government has allowed the Chinese people to give birth to three children.

The main reason for this is the concerningly low birth rate and the impending demographic crisis. China is still the country with the largest population (1.41 billion), but UN forecasts indicate that India will soon surpass it, since India has a much higher birth rate.

Statistics show that last year approximately 12 million babies were born in China, which is the lowest birth rate China has had in many years. For instance, in 2016 when the “two-child policy” was implemented, the number of newborns reached 18 million.

Chinese demographers argue that it will be difficult for China to boost birth rate in the near future because the number of women in the reproductive age is decreasing. This was caused by China’s “one-child policy” that was in force from 1979 to 2015.

Chinese families could give birth only to one child, and many families chose to “spend” this quota on a boy, since in China boys have traditionally been valued more than girls. If a family were told they were expecting a girl, the mother would often decide to have an abortion.

This caused an unexpected outcome – the number of men exceeded the number of women. Although it was not allowed to find out the sex of the baby during pregnancy, there were several ways to do so which lead to numerous late abortions. That is why currently there is a disproportion between the number of men and women in the Chinese society.

As a result, modern China is overproducing men and is in a grave lack of women. Statistics indicate that there are 35 million more men than women – leaving many men with no chances of finding a spouse.

Moreover, the beliefs and values of the Chinese people have also changed over the years, i.e. many women wish to pursue a career first and only then to establish a family. The recent years have seen a rapid decline in marriages in China.

These trends are particularly prevalent in Chinese cities, leading demographers to predict that the gap between the situation in cities and the situation in the countryside will only widen in the future – people in the countryside still prefer larger families, while city dwellers have a hard time giving birth to a single child.

“Now, we are allowed to have three children. The problem, however, is that I don’t even want one child,” a user of the Chinese social media network Weibo wrote in his account.

Many are asking the question – will the “three-child policy” change anything if the “two-child policy” wasn’t able to do so? That’s why people are happy about the government’s decision to provide other incentives and motivations in this regard.

For example, education costs – which were twice as high in two-children families – will be cut, people will see additional support on tax and housing issues and working women will be granted more rights. In addition, the government also has plans to educate young Chinese people on the issues of marriage and love – now, state propaganda will not only deal with shaming the West, but also teach people how to love correctly and “make children”.

This leads to believe that the Chinese government has taken quite a peculiar approach to identifying mistakes in their previous policies, but it isn’t truly admitting these mistakes – as is the case in all authoritarian regimes. If the previous plan fails, simply improve it a bit and relaunch it anew.

The “one-child policy” has led to one-and-a-half generation where there are six people from the non-working population for each person in the working population, i.e. the person’s parents and two sets of grandparents. This is the Chinese Communist Party’s know-how.

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Global Health & Health Silk Road: The Other Side Of Picture

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The new world order is a twisted maze of political, economic and cultural ambitions. China’s obscure political economy presents an unparalleled challenge to those unfamiliar with the cultural and historical undercurrents driving Beijing’s global movements. Following the onset of the CoVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the global society observed one of the hasty economic convulsion since World War II. Nearly all nation states sealed their borders and placed global supply chain and trade in limbo as the spread of the virus continued unabated. As Beijing’s flagship investment project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was similarly disrupted. The BRI initiative has formed the cornerstone of President Xi’s approach to strategic diplomacy and challenged the traditional concept of development. Key rhetoric underlying the initiative, such as “the community of common destiny for mankind”.

Nevertheless, there is a “Digital Silk Road”, and “Space Silk Road”, so it should come as no bombshell that China is also building a “Health Silk Road”. China’s HSR first appeared in a speech given by President Xi in 2016. At the first BRI Forum 2017, a Beijing Communique of Belt and Road Health Cooperation and Health Silk Road was signed by China, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, OECD, GAVI and other participating countries. Since then, China made a significant move towards the consolidation of its role as a major player in global health. Similarly, it is no secret that China is making a boost for global health leadership during CoVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic spread across the world, China sought to provide aid packages and medical assistance to partner states within the BRI under the name of “Health Silk Road”. The ongoing CoVID-19 pandemic is not only going to fundamentally transform the global politics, but also the foreign policy priorities of many countries. Since the outbreak, the CoVID-19 pandemic has exposed the significant weakness of public health infrastructure of developed and developing countries alike.

There is widespread understanding among scientists, heritage and history writers that one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, black death, originated in China and spread along the old silk road to central Asia, northern India and Europe. It exhibited a blueprint that is as old as human history, – when people and goods travel, so do viruses and bacteria. Today, there is some speculation about whether CoVID-19 circulated along the “new silk road”, and it has been criticized that the BRI contributed to the spread of the virus. These kinds of debates are pointless because, even without modern means of transport like trains, cargo-ships, and planes, the plague can reach the most remote places in the world and kill a large portion of the global population. Highly criticized for covering up and not preventing the virus from turning into a global pandemic, China is making an efforts to reinstate its persona as a symbol of support, strength and leadership. Opponents have also alleged that Beijing rationalized itself as a global health champion at a time when Washington had abdicated its responsibilities.

Regardless of misgivings, China has been promoting the institutionalization of health cooperation within HSR framework by organizing and sponsoring a number of health-themed forums. For example, the Silk Road Health Forum, China-Central and Eastern European Countries Health Ministers Forum, China-ASEAN Health Forum, and the China-Arab States Health Forum. Beijing also initiated a series of supportive programs on disease control and prevention in alliance with its neighbors in Central Asia. All these efforts were made as part of China’s broader global health diplomacy and leadership before the CoVID-19 pandemic hit the world. With the spread of  CoVID-19 across the world, the Chinese government extended support to countries from East Asia to Europe. It has given 20 million dollars to the World Health Organization (WHO) for assisting developing countries in coping with the pandemic, build up their epidemic-prevention abilities, and building a stronger public health system. China also handed out concessionary loans and played a coordinating role in multilaterals like G-20, ASEAN, the SCO and the African Union, established itself in a leadership position by promptly responding to the crises and catering to the needs of the countries all over.

In contrast with the advance economics, what China has contributed to the global pandemic combat becomes even more admirable. Statistics show that China has provided considerable amount of medical assistance to the rest of world, including approximately 70.6 billion face masks, 225 million test kits, 115 million pairs of goggles, 340 million protective suits, 96,700 ventilators, and 40.29 million infrared thermometers to 200 countries and regions in 2020. China’s medical professionals have also played a vital role in the global pandemic battle by contributing their knowledge and experience on the frontlines in many virus-impacted countries. China has shared medical best practices with a multitude of international organizations, including the ASEAN, EU, African Union, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Caribbean, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as some of the hardest-hit countries such as South Korea, Japan, Russia, the United States, and Germany.

Concisely, with all these notable endeavors and substantial contributions, is it still premature to presume that China has taken over the leadership role in terms of global health? China’s engagement in global health, especially during CoVID-19, has positioned itself as a johnny on the spot in global health leadership. The HSR undoubtedly will allow China to re-establish its national repute on the international stage, in particular by contrasting it with the inelegant responses of the United States and other European nations. China’s global aspirations, efforts to present itself as a global health leader should not be considered as surprise. It is still too early to tell the magnitude to which China’s global health sprint will transform its international profile, but there is no reason to be cynical that it will be revolutionary. As an old Chinese saying goes, it takes a good blacksmith to make good steel.

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