By Zhong Sheng
At present, the world is faced with a volatile situation and an evident rebound of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the daily number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US has exceeded the country’s peak in last summer and keeps rising sharply.
The US, however, is still focusing its energies on containing China rather than fighting the pandemic.
While continuously trying to manipulate the COVID-19 origin tracing through political means, the US government has frequently sent senior officials to neighboring countries of China, which, according to international media outlets, has been aimed at building a ring of encirclement against China in a bid to put pressure on China.
Such despicable maneuvers of the US have once again shown that the US turns a blind eye to the general trend of global development and still hasn’t figured out how to deal with a more confident and up-and-coming China that shoulders its responsibilities as a major country.
In the face of changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century, the world needs major countries to show their sense of responsibility and courage more than ever.
China has played the role of a responsible major country both in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and the efforts to boost global economic recovery, becoming a stabilizer in today’s world which is undergoing profound changes.
China has actively supported the work of the World Health Organization (WHO), promoted global anti-epidemic cooperation, and honored its promise to make its COVID-19 vaccine a global public good. The country has exported and donated massive anti-epidemic supplies and vaccines to foreign countries and become the world’s largest and most stable supplier of anti-epidemic materials.
After entering its new development stage, China has continued to open its door wider to the rest of the world and improve the business environment, creating new opportunities for enterprises from various countries, including the US.
US industrial and commercial circles generally look forward to developing healthy, stable, and mutually beneficial US-China economic and trade relations, oppose economic and trade decoupling of the two countries, and hope to deepen the pragmatic cooperation between the two sides in economy and trade, said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of International Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce.
In contrast, the US, where the number of COVID-19 cases has topped 35 million and the death toll from the pandemic has surpassed 620,000, has not only failed to contain the pandemic at home and caused the serious spread of the virus to its neighboring countries due to its inadequate response, but demonstrated its destructive power through a series of selfish misdeeds, including withdrawing from the WHO, hoarding COVID-19 vaccines, and intercepting anti-epidemic supplies of other countries.
Tracing the origins of the COVID-19 has a significant bearing on whether mankind can find effective ways to prevent similar pandemics in the future. The US, which has politicized the COVID-19 origin tracing and stigmatized China in total disregard of facts, has been in fact encumbering global fight against the pandemic.
As world economy has already been highly integrated, the US wages wars against China in such fields as trade and science and technology, attempting to contain China’s development by pursuing protectionism and unilateralism.
The stark contrast between itself and China hasn’t made the US reflect on and correct its domestic and foreign policies. Instead, the US has become increasingly anxious about China’s achievements. As a result, the country takes any opportunity to thwart China’s development and lets irrational thinking dominate its strategy toward China.
In the eyes of the US, a China that has become strong is the biggest threat to its hegemony. This wrong conception of China comes from its unbalanced mentality and distorted world view.
As the largest economy in the world, the US couldn’t accept China’s rising in all respects, and the difficult domestic problems it faces are fueling its impulse to demonize China.
At the same time, no country can confront alone the increasing global challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, terrorism, and sluggish global economic recovery, which is a basic reality of the current era.
As pointed out by US magazine Foreign Affairs, “But a return to the pre-Trump status quo is not possible. The world—and the United States—have changed far too much. And although hailing the return of American hegemony might seem comforting to Americans, it reveals a degree of tone-deafness to how it sounds to the rest of the world.”
The US has always pinned its hope on the support of its allies in containing China. However, the fact is that its obstinate persistence in the wrong course has led to a decline in its influence. With fading appeal, the US can by no means rebuild its leadership through containing China.
In recent years, the US, taking the “American First” approach in pursuing economic development, has used tariffs as a weapon to contain the development of its trade partners and gone further and further down the wrong path of protectionism and unilateralism.
Meanwhile, the glory of American democracy is gone. At the beginning of this year, the US Capitol building was occupied by violent protesters, which became a typical event triggered by American democracy disorder.
Although the current US administration claimed that it would rebuild the country’s wounded democracy, it still hasn’t found effective solutions to deep-rooted problems like gun violence, outcry against racism, the gap between the rich and poor, social division, and political polarization.
After the US emerged as the sole global super power, it has reveled in being the sole super power, and is paying the price for abusing unchecked power at home and abroad, pointed out former US Ambassador to China Stapleton Roy.
China has enjoyed continuous and steady economic recovery and growth, suggested latest economic data, which showed that the Chinese economy has demonstrated extraordinary resilience, and that the country has become the largest trading partner of the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
No country wants to and can afford to decouple from China, a country with about 1.4 billion people. The international community understands well the consequence of US coercing other countries into choosing sides.
As German Chancellor Angela Merkel pointed out, without China, countries will never find solutions to issues in many fields.
Seeking cooperation with China and jointly coping with crises so as to create a better future for the world is what the international community expects from the US and what a major country is supposed to do.
As an old Chinese saying goes, “A just cause enjoys abundant support while an unjust cause finds little.” Recently, more than 300 political parties, social organizations and think tanks from over 100 countries and regions submitted a joint statement to the WHO Secretariat to oppose politicizing COVID-19 origin-tracing, which once again proved that the overwhelming aspiration of the people and global justice forces never change just because of the coercion from the US.
At present, the only right choice for the US is to face realities, correct its mentality, discard the anti-China strategy, return to rational and pragmatic measures, and find a way through dialogue for the two major countries which have different social systems, cultures, and are in different development stages to realize peaceful coexistence while concentrating efforts on solving domestic problems.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on China’s foreign policy and international affairs.)