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US-China relations at its 'lowest point for 30 years' due to COVID-19, expert claims

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Professor Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations suggested that the pandemic was “intertwined with US presidential election politics”. He stressed that President Trump was being criticised for his “poor response” to the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd.

Professor Hunag also claimed that President Trump saw these incidents “as a threat” to not getting reelected in November.

Speaking at a Cambridge Union event on Sino-Western Relations, he added: “This is the lowest point in US-China relations since 1989.

“He [President Trump] needs to find an easy scapegoat and that is China/World Health Organisation.

“Washington accuses Beijing for deliberately letting the virus infect the United States and accuses the WHO of being a puppet of China.”

 

China has denied all allegations from the US.

Professor Haung also said that the poor relations were down to the rise of COVID-19 conspiracy theories.

Speaking about the theories, he added: “The pandemic led to the rise of theories on both sides.

“We saw that within weeks of the pathogen’s appearance, social media was littered with suggestions that the virus was a biological weapon.

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“So that led them to reassess the risks associated with Sino-American relations and some calls for reducing Chinese dependence on the US.”

Professor Haung also claimed the “US refused” to play a leadership role in helping other countries to fight the pandemic.

He stressed that the lack of US action left “plenty of opportunity” for China to fill the gap, insisting that the nation has “become more assertive” in claiming the “global leadership” role.

He continued: “The US then feels even more threatened.”

 

The academic concluded: “One thing is for sure, the pandemic is changing China’s relationship with the rest of the world, especially the United States.

“Whether that change is reversible remains to be seen.”

Relations between the two nations have depleted since President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu signed a “phase one” trade deal which relaxes some US tariffs on Chinese imports and commits China to buying an additional $200 billion worth of American goods.

This was seen as a breakthrough in the nearly two-year trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

By March, President Trump made repeated references to the “Chinese virus,” which he says spread because of failures by the Chinese government.

Meanwhile, when it comes to Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the UK should continue to work with the “great and rising power” of China.

Mr Johnson said at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday: “I am a Sinophile and I believe we must continue to work with this great and rising power.”

 



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