There have been increasing calls to make China pay for the pandemic that has wreaked havoc across the globe. Since the past couple of decades, China has been able to get away with anything but with Donald Trump as the POTUS, things changed drastically. Ever since he assumed office, he has followed a stick and carrot policy with China if the trade war is anything to go by. When the Coronavirus pandemic hit the USA, Trump and his officials addressed it as the ‘Chinese virus’ and not coronavirus. This was in response to China claiming that American soldiers brought the virus to China when they were last present in Wuhan.
However, Trump wrote a rather differently emoted tweet after a phone call with the Chinese President Xi Jinping, and used the term ‘CoronaVirus’. Trump seems to have backtracked on the word, ‘chinese virus’ which drew flak from the liberal and Chinese side for being ‘racist’. One may think that this is the end of Trump and the USA’s offensive against China, but that may be a premature conclusion.
Trump may have reset equations temporarily, but the USA is far from letting China off the hook. They might do it differently, not by calling it the ‘Chinese virus’ but by exposing China’s attempts to cover up and mislead the world for as long as it could until the situation worsened and a pandemic was imminent.
Just finished a very good conversation with President Xi of China. Discussed in great detail the CoronaVirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet. China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
While Trump writes a rosy tweet for Xi Jinping, White house officials are already working on ways to shame and hold China accountable. The Trade War started by President Trump against China was just a trailer in US-China relations. The pandemic is likely to fracture US-China ties and according to officials at the White House, the US government is monitoring efforts to make China pay for the Wuhan virus pandemic. From class action lawsuits to exposing China on the global stage, the US may be contemplating several measures.
China made it personal for President Trump when it decided to shirk responsibility and instead pin the blame of the virus on the USA. At a time when the world is paying the price for the lethargy of the Chinese government, there has been a strong sentiment that China must pay. It seems that the Trump administration echoes similar sentiments. According to media reports emerging from the US, the Trump administration is monitoring a civilian-led effort to hold the Chinese Communist Party monetarily accountable for Wuhan virus.
NEW: Senior White House officials and some of Trump's top out-of-gov advisers have been briefed on and are monitoring private efforts to hold the Chinese Communist Party financially accountable for coronavirus fallout. Read it here…https://t.co/MbvIjFMZzv
— Christian Datoc (@TocRadio) March 25, 2020
"I'm totally in favor," one Trump adviser told me of the effort to make China pay coronavirus victims. "F**k them." https://t.co/L1oEBpIMFo
— Christian Datoc (@TocRadio) March 25, 2020
“I’m totally in favor” one of Trump administrations top advisers told Daily Caller, “F*ck them.” Another adviser called the lawsuit something that “can unite our country against a common enemy.”
This comes in the backdrop of a class-action $20 trillion lawsuit filed against China. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit state that “COVID-19 was designed by China to be a very ‘effective’ and catastrophic biological warfare weapon to kill mass populations… there are many indications besides the nature of the disease demonstrating that the virus was engineered in the Chinese military’s laboratory or laboratories.”
Trump’s advisers have wholly backed the lawsuit. The Daily Caller reports that two out of government advisers completely endorse the lawsuit and believe that the lawsuit has the potential to unite the entire country against a common enemy.
While the suit is likely to be bogus as $20 trillion is nearly the size of the whole US economy. It was done to gain attention and shed light on China’s wrongdoings. The Conservative establishment in the USA has united as they push for punishing China.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri recently called for an international investigation into China’s deadly cover-up. Republican Representative Elise Stefanik from New York echoed Hawley’s sentiments and introduced companion resolutions calling on Congress to open the said investigation. Another Republican House Representative Jim Banks backed the calls for making China pay for the cost incurred by the USA in fighting the pandemic.
“Since day one, the Chinese Communist Party intentionally lied to the world about the origin of this pandemic. The CCP was aware of the reality of the virus as early as December but ordered laboratories to destroy samples and forced doctors to keep silent,” said Hawley. He further added, “It is time for an international investigation into the role their cover-up played in the spread of this devastating pandemic. The CCP must be held to account for what the world is now suffering.”
The US administration ramped up the pressure on China as it pushed to address the pandemic as ‘Wuhan virus’ in the G7 joint statement. While the decision to push the phrase “Wuhan virus” might have fractured the G7 alliance and resulted in separate statements, it signifies how the US government is unlikely to let China off the hook. According to CNN, the proposed draft statement by the United States also blamed China for the pandemic’s spread.
China appeared to claim victory as Donald Trump recently announced that he will be scaling down his tirades against China as he will desist from associating the coronavirus with China. Trump started addressing the virus as “Chinese virus” because the ruling Chinese Communist Party blamed the US military for the pandemic. Trump said that he didn’t regret using the term but has decided to not make a big deal out of it.
Trump may have stopped with the name-calling but the USA is just getting started withholding China accountable if the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent statements are anything to go by.
Pompeo publicly has been consistently targeting China for an alleged lack of transparency at the outset of the pandemic. Additionally, the Trump administration has crafted a coordinated messaging campaign which pushes US officials to highlight China’s “coverup” and the subsequent disinformation campaign.
Steve Bannon who was the former Chief Strategist at the White House claimed that any goodwill that was gained after the initial trade deal with China is now obliterated as he warned that a confrontation is on the horizon.
“Now you can see they are on a propaganda offensive to blame this on the West, particularly the United States, and it’s going to lead to a further confrontation. There is a confrontation coming,” Bannon said.
The Chinese propaganda that pinned the blame of the Wuhan virus on the USA was dealt a major blow as China’s ambassador to the USA, Cui Tiankai disowned the virus conspiracy theories. Cui Tiankai claimed that it was “crazy” to spread rumours that the virus originated from a military laboratory in the United States.
Cui’s statement contradicts the stance of the Chinese foreign ministry. Lijian Zhao, a spokesman for the country’s foreign ministry has been particularly rabid in floating such conspiracy theories. “It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!” Zhao tweeted on March 12.
President Trump has also signed into law the aptly named Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative or the TAIPEI Act, which shall strengthen Taiwan’s alliances across the world and address Taiwans exclusion from the WHO. This step has irked China further and is great indication of things to come.
China’s Xi Jinping has met his match in Donald Trump who is in a mood to make China pay for its sins which has prompted a worried China to reach out to countries like India and Russia urging them to be on their side.