Beijing is trying to exploit COVID-19 situation, say experts; Japan takes step to shift production

Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 10 Apr 2020, 06:12 am Print

Beijing is trying to exploit COVID-19 situation, say experts; Japan takes step to shift production

Beijing: With China claiming that it is significantly recovering from COVID-19 crisis while other nations, including the UK and the US are struggling to contain the virus, some experts believe Beijing is trying to exploit the situation to its own advantage.

"The Chinese economy is already up and running again even as the US, the UK and other nations are battling to hold back the tide of illness, death and economic destruction plunging them into a recession 'worse than the global financial crisis', according to the International Monetary Fund," said English economics commentator and journalist Alex Brummer in his article published in the Daily Mail.

"What is becoming clear is that by ramping up production and driving recovery, China could be the big winner from the global downturn - and that is an alarming prospect," he said.

"The ability of its leader, Xi Jinping, to invoke the ruthless powers of the state to combat coronavirus and to make sure dissenting voices were silenced gave the Chinese a huge advantage," he wrote in his article.

"So China is flaunting its triumph over coronavirus - but be in no doubt it is also set to exploit the paralysis that has enveloped Western economies to its own ends, in terms of finance, and greater global power," he said.

He mentioned that China had failed to alert the world about the outbreak of the virus.

"This is the nation that failed to alert the world at the earliest opportunity to this new strain thought to have evolved in its unsanitary live animal markets; allowed the virus to incubate and spread for vital weeks before conceding it was a major public health issue; and which has by common consent been less than honest about infection and death rates," Alex Brummer wrote.

Vivian Wang, a China correspondent, in The New York Times wrote: "In recent days, foreign leaders, even in friendly nations like Iran, have questioned China’s reported infections and deaths. A top European diplomat warned that China’s aid to the continent was a mask for its geopolitical ambitions, while a Brazilian official suggested the pandemic was part of China’s plan to 'dominate the world.'"

She wrote: "What narrative prevails has implications far beyond an international blame game. When the outbreak subsides, governments worldwide will confront crippled economies, unknown death tolls and a profound loss of trust among many of their people. Whether Beijing can step into that void, or is pilloried for it, may determine the fate of its ambitions for global leadership."

Japan takes first step:

In a major step, the Japan government has earmarked USD 2.2 billion of its record economic stimulus package to help its manufacturers shift production out of China.

The extra budget, compiled to try to offset the devastating effects of the pandemic, includes 220 billion yen ($2 billion) for companies shifting production back to Japan and 23.5 billion yen for those seeking to move production to other countries, according to details of the plan posted online, reported Bloomberg.

“There will be something of a shift,” Shinichi Seki told Bloomberg, an economist at the Japan Research Institute, adding that some Japanese companies manufacturing goods in China for export were already considering moving out. 

It is to be seen how the move will impact Japan PM Shinzo Abe's attempt to restore relations with China.

“We are doing our best to resume economic development,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a briefing Wednesday in Beijing, when asked about the move as reported by Bloomberg.

“In this process, we hope other countries will act like China and take proper measures to ensure the world economy will be impacted as little as possible and to ensure that supply chains are impacted as little as possible," the spokesman said.

The COVID-19 outbreak had a significant impact on the trading ties between the two nations.

China is Japan’s biggest trading partner under normal circumstances, but imports from China slumped by almost half in February as the disease closed factories, in turn starving Japanese manufacturers of necessary components. To be precise, China exports $148 billion worth of goods to Japan and despite having such big numbers stacked against it, the Japanese are not taking the foot off the pedal and attacking China much like the rest of the world, reported TFI post.

Recently, Japan's Deputy PM Taro Aso had slammed World Health Organization for allegedly siding China over the issue of the spread of COVID-19 and said the health body should be renamed as “Chinese Health Organization".

Addressing lawmakers at the House of Representatives in Tokyo, Aso slammed WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for what he called his “inadequate evaluation to address the coronavirus outbreak“, reported The Print.

"People think the World Health Organization should change its name, it shouldn't be called the WHO, it should be renamed the CHO (or Chinese Health Organization). This is truly resonating with the people," he was quoted as saying by Tweak Town.

The World Health Organization (WHO), the UN arm responsible for international public health, has been called out by many over the way it handled the ongoing outbreak of the COVID 19 in its effort to shield China.

A petition demanding the resignation of its chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who hails from Ethiopia, has now earned millions of signatures, signalling a growing discontent against the man and his esteemed organisation which now faces an unprecedented credibility crisis.

WHO and its chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus have been alleged to have delayed the world from knowing about the onset of the deadly disease earlier this year when it had lauded China's efforts in tackling coronavirus, now called by the name, the Chinese Virus, across the world.

He allegedly gave a clean chit to China when the ground reality was much different as experts believe that WHO was late in alarming the world about the virus as it did not want to offend China.

No wonder, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected to the post after China backed him in the May 2017 election.

Critics have slammed the global body for its slow response in declaring the Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic and for failing to coordinate a coherent international response.

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