As the world is now experiencing the full impact of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, with countries going under isolation and following lockdown protocols. China is dealing with its aftermath. It is entering the post-COVID-19 stage and is working towards rehabilitating its economic and financial structure.
The role of China as the leading global force in the supply chain had been forced to take a pause as the nations and countries everywhere halted their cosmopolitan activities, with the economy and global relations taking a backseat. Now that China has overcome its transmission rate, industries and cities have started to commence their transactional activities. With its economy on the road to repair, it has taken upon itself to aid the countries that have been hit with the deadliest force of the virus. The country’s capital; Beijing has brought itself at the forefront in providing loans to less fortunate countries, aiding them in the pandemic by providing medical supplies in form of surgical masks to positing healthcare workers in various countries. In the case of Italy which experienced one of the most fatal impacts of the virus, when European nations stood silent China announced its assistance and proclaimed to deliver 1000 ventilators, up to 50, 000 test kits, and more medical equipment in the form of protective gearing. This comes hand in hand with China’s corporation with international organizations to combat the pandemic on the global level. It was recently announced that Beijing would provide WHO with $2 billion to fight the pandemic.
This disposition of China at the frontlines in the fight against coronavirus doesn’t come as a surprise but sheds light on its foreign policy. The contribution of China as the leading supplier of medical equipment was imminent as previously it had one of the biggest production units for surgical masks, now when the demand have reached its all-time high and unlike other countries, China has resumed its industrial activities, it’s no surprise that it has the capability to provide medical assistance to rest of the world. This way China stands in direct juxtaposition with The United States. As the most powerful nation, the world looked up to The United States and its strategic plans to take lead in the times of a pandemic. However, the staggering rate with which corona has hit The United States barely had the capability to supply and aid its own people let alone provide its assistance to the rest of the world. This scenario is further aggravated by the Trump Leadership which showed reluctance and failed to take countermeasures or show a strategic response against the virus.
This does not entail a victory for China rather it shows the diplomatic stance it had to take as it covered up the initial details about the spread of the virus and its origin resulting in accusation and hostility from the rest of the world. When the virus first spread in Wuhan the government arranged a cover-up, harboring the intensity of the virus and condemning healthcare professionals to make important information public, as a result, the response to the virus was delayed which resulted in the virus becoming a pandemic. Even now the world is reluctant to believe the statistics China is showing. There have been complaints regarding the flawed medical equipment supplied by Beijing and questions have been raised regarding its motive to seek more global power. If the hostility remains countries may consider showing less dependence on China, in that sense it faces an economic challenge, it has succeeded in banishing the virus but where does it leave it in the global economy?
With the world hanging on its hinges, encompassed by a pandemic surrounding the whole of humanity, the global economy struggling to stand its ground, an establishment of a new diplomatic order can be envisioned. Most nations have been left with bettered economies; for decades the global power has been rested with the United States now when its economy has taken a serious hit fueled further by its changing democratic landscape with nationwide protests which may bring it on the brink of another civil war, the leadership has never been more uncertain. This paves way for another global power to take lead and establish a new world order. The narrative to be set in the post-coronavirus may result in China becoming the global leader or it may be the turning point leaving it out of the international economic order. There has been a chorus of de-Sinicization blaming China for the outbreak of the virus threatening the economic and diplomatic relations for China. The United States is working towards distancing its dependence upon China by diversifying its own portfolio followed by some European countries. Even though the rest of the world may continue to strengthen their ties with China but the collaborative supply chain between China and the United States is coming to its ultimate demise. The post-coronavirus world poses serious challenges for globalization internationally but more so for the nations that have established themselves based on this very notion.