Some speak of a “new type of cold war”, others say it is definitely a new cold war. One thing is sure: diplomatic relations between China and the United States have never been so tense since the 1970s, experts confirm.
Almost two years after the tariffs crisis started, also called a “trade war”, diplomats are fearing a new cold war, emphasized by the coronavirus crisis, since the virus was first identified in China – and nicknamed by the White House itself “a Chinese virus”.
Since Russia stands by China in the pandemic crisis, it has recently asked the White House to “deliver proof” the virus came from China, only aggravating the diplomatic relations.
A new kind of war
In an alarming op-ed, Richard Haass sums up the current situation in the Wall Street Journal: “The pandemic has greatly sharpened tensions between the world’s two most powerful countries. A rising chorus of American voices now argues that confronting China should become the organizing principle of U.S. foreign policy, akin to the Cold War against the Soviet Union.”
On 6 May, U.S Secretary Mike Pompeo said there was “a significant amount of evidence” suggesting that the virus emerged from a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan.
However, a few days after, U.S. Intel confirmed that it was highly unlikely that the virus came from a laboratory and would rather be, as previously described, found at the Wuhan market. This was a huge blow for American diplomacy.
“On a Cold War footing”: Relations between China and the US are at its lowest point in decades. pic.twitter.com/VCfkGCw4Rj
— SCMP News (@SCMPNews) May 6, 2020
Russia, China’s ally
Just like during the cold war between Washington and Moscow, China has been finding strong allies.
As it turns out, Russia has been showing tremendous support. According to CNBC: “Dmitry Peskov, a top Russian official and President Putin’s spokesman, told CNBC that such accusations from the U.S. were “very, very serious. Without proof, we consider it wrong to attack third countries in this, let’s say, humbly speaking, non-diplomatic way.”
Russia also highlighted China was on the same wave length, hinting at the poor communication coming from the U.S.: “It’s a relationship of mutual understanding and mutual cooperation”, added Peskov.
Read on Alvexo: “Is The US-China Trade War Almost Over?
Alibaba, a diplomatic weapon?
While experts are still monitoring the situation, one thing is sure: COVID19 has strongly deteriorated China’s global reputation.
Alibaba’s founder and CEO, Jack Ma, has been trying to spread a pro-active message and donated more than $144,200,000 towards medical research.
However, the BBC wonders if this act of generosity was more of a diplomatic move orchestrated by the Communist Party, Alibaba being the biggest Chinese tech company.
Since this announcement, Alibaba’s share dropped from $209 to $191. On 8 May, it was back at $201.