U.S. - China: coronavirus showdown
Washington is continuing to put pressure on Beijing with a CIA report saying that China deliberately notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of the COVID-19 epidemic late, and thereby, gaining time and pace, stockpiled necessary medicines and remedies against coronavirus. As a result of such an unprecedented egoism and disregard for the rest of the world, we have the following picture: China coped with its own infection, while the troubles of the others have not ceased.
As soon as the report was made public, influential senators led by Lindsay Graham took the initiative to impose sanctions on China. Such precocity suggests there was a script. The senators' appeal can further complicate Washington-Beijing relations. The Celestial Empire rejected the allegations, regarding them as cheap misinformation.
However, the U.S. intelligence report has rather curious details, preventing us from treating the Chinese refutation with unconditional trust. In particular, the CIA report says that China was blackmailing WHO, offering it a choice between disclosing information about the coronavirus crisis in December last year - January of this year and financing the organization. Choosing not to lose China's funding, WHO fulfilled the whims of Beijing for some time, ignoring the situation, and even when the coronavirus began its tragic procession on the planet, it continued to hesitate whether to declare it a pandemic or not.
As a result of such criminal deliberation, thousands of people died, which could not have happened if the participants in the flagrant scandal have been more decent. While the WHO pretended that nothing was happening, China has been actively engaged in the acquisition of virus protection agents around the world. From the U.S. intelligence report, we can conclude that allegedly it was these large-scale purchases that aroused certain suspicions and led to closer monitoring and study of what was happening in China those days and projecting this on the situation in other countries. And then the sobering stage came. And when it did, WHO announced a pandemic.
At present, such attacks are not worth much. But almost simultaneously with the CIA, German intelligence also made public something similar on the pages of the influential Spiegel magazine. The publication says that back in January, President Xi Jinping spoke with WHO Director-General Tedros Gebreyesus. The publication said that WHO initially denied this, but failed to address the issue of the intervention of other high-ranking Beijing officials in the organization. Later, WHO recognized the fact of communication between Gebreyesus and the Chinese leader, but said "there was no talk of a pandemic."
The West does not believe that. Its particular irritation is caused by the fact that WHO resists the version that the epidemic originated in a Wuhan laboratory. When announcing the pandemic, simultaneously with this most important statement the WHO managed to draw the attention of mankind to the phrase in the same statement that China was not guilty of the disaster. According to experts, this explains the angry reaction of U.S. President Donald Trump, who announced the suspension of funding to the WHO - well then China can feed this bulky organization itself, which is not just ineffective, but also cynically playing out a winning combination for itself. Despite the fact that the United States seems to have formed an unambiguous opinion or position on this situation.
If earlier Washington spoke more or less carefully, referring to its intelligence services, which in turn did not exclude the possibility that COVID-19 could have originated in the Wuhan laboratory, now this theory has found a rigid construction: the epidemic began in Wuhan, it was spread across China by the inhabitants of this city, and then Beijing hid it for a whole week, which led to sad consequences for the entire world. Now the United States threaten to impose sanctions on China, if it does not provide a complete and clear picture of the "accident" that caused the pandemic.
However, Beijing does not seem to behave like a whipping boy. It hit back, threatening to stop buying Western meat products and impose higher grain tariffs. In contrast to the politico-bureaucratic actions of the United States, China immediately moved to specific measures which may turn out to be very sensitive during the period of general economic decline caused by a pandemic. Thus, the situation may turn into a revision of economic relations between Washington and Beijing, which will have consequences for the whole world. Of course, one could suggest getting some popcorn ready and watch the battle of the titans, but I am afraid this is no time for jokes.