US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — “We received medical supplies from China as evidence of solidarity. We greatly appreciate this, ”a statement released on April 9 by the Roman Curia (Vatican) surprised the international community. The fact is that the Vatican in 1951 broke off diplomatic relations with China. It is the only state in Europe to maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
When the new coronavirus began to spread, China was a country that received assistance from other countries, but when it managed to contain the internal epidemic, Beijing immediately began to carry out “diplomacy of masks”, extending a helping hand to various countries.
According to the Chinese government, by April 11, masks and protective clothing were shipped to more than 130 countries and international organizations. Medical teams were sent to 12 countries. He also showed the strengths of the “world factory”, which can massively produce various products, and since March 3.86 billion masks and 37.5 million sets of protective clothing have been exported.
In January, when the virus spread in China, President Xi Jinping began active diplomacy. The number of heads of state and international organizations with which he discussed measures against the new coronavirus, including phone calls and letters, amounted to approximately 50 people.
At that time, the goal was to convince partners not to restrict trade and passenger flows with China. Halfway through the tasks have changed.
According to the Chinese journalist, the situation changed on February 26 during a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.
At that time, China had passed the peak of the epidemic, and government political analysts had begun to state that it was time to reduce alertness. Meanwhile, the epidemic began to spread in Italy and South Korea. The number of infected exceeded the number of Chinese patients.
According to Chinese media, at the meeting convened by Xi, the party leadership said: “We will fulfill the duty of the superpower. We will strengthen external propaganda and informational diplomacy. ”
The Xi administration has always attached particular importance and considered the most important task to increase the influence and status of China in the international arena. It is easy to imagine that China tried to atone for the inability to stop the spread of infection through active diplomacy based on the experience of fighting the virus.
The reaction of the United States, where the number of people infected has risen sharply, and there has been chaos in the stock market, is that China’s transition to the offensive was belated and fragmented.
In late March, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a telephone press conference for the Asahi newspaper and other Asia-Pacific media. He spoke about the financial assistance to 64 countries in the amount of approximately 270 million dollars, which was announced four days before, and emphasized: “The United States will continue to be the country that provides the highest humanitarian assistance in the world.”
However, four days after this, US President Donald Trump announced the cessation of the export of high-performance masks, as they became necessary in the United States. He didn’t even try to hide the “USA Above All” policy.
The growing influence and fears of the world
Despite this, the Chinese “mask diplomacy” does not develop according to the planned scenario.
“We want to create the Silk Road of Health at the same time,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in late February during telephone calls with Luigi Di Mayo, Italian Foreign Minister, where European countries have the most victims of the new coronavirus.
In March, China delivered 30 tons of masks, mechanical ventilation apparatus (IVL) and other medical products, and also sent three medical teams.
Last year, Italy was the first of the G-7 countries to decide to participate in the global economic idea of Xi “One Belt, One Road”.
The Chinese leader personally visited Italy and promised to strengthen cooperation. In general, in Europe there is a shift towards China.
At the end of March, the Italian Foreign Minister expressed his intention to strengthen cooperation with China in the fight against the new coronavirus, and people who laughed at the idea of the Silk Road of Health said: “We have to admit that friendship with China saves lives in Italy.”
Meanwhile, this does not mean that Italy accepts China with open arms.
Italian political circles fear the country was influenced by Beijing’s viscous strategy, which took advantage of the chaos caused by the pandemic. The following criticism is growing: “It is not right to extol a country that conducts unfair competition and oppresses freedoms.”
The world is looking at China, which is trying to take on the leadership role, with a stern look. Most of the reasons are connected with a special political system uniting 1.4 billion people.
China’s measures were belated, and doctors from Wuhan confirm this, but the government is not trying to clarify the situation. On the contrary, the authorities tried to hide the real situation, which doctors trumpeted, and this raises doubts about the official data on the number of infected people.
Chinese aid in the form of medical supplies also extends to other European countries. Against this backdrop, March 24, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrel, issued a statement. In it, he noted that Beijing is actively broadcasting the message, emphasizing that China, unlike the United States, is a responsible and reliable partner. Borrel also expressed concern: “We must be vigilant about geopolitical ambitions and attempts to increase influence through information warfare and good politics.”
Countries to which China sent medical teams (according to the Foreign Ministry of China on April 13): Iran, Iraq, Italy, Serbia, Cambodia, Pakistan, Laos, Venezuela, Philippines, Myanmar, Kazakhstan and Russia.
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