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Gloomy Post-COVID-19 Sino-US Relations in Forecast: World Economic Forum

China-US relations

By Tatenda Mujeyi

President Barrack Obama’s efforts for a pro-Sino-US mutuality were eased by Trump’s diplomatic trajectory, characteristic of allegations that arguably climaxed as Huawei 5G allegations, trade bans, and the COVID outbreak conspiracies.

The COVID-19 outbreak has heightened the frustrations between the two nations with the American giant arguably accusing the Asian superpower of creating the Covid pandemic.

According to the World Economic Forum Global Risks Assessment report, “The COVID-19 crisis has revealed the weak nodes and tenuous ties threading through the international system. Key trends point to a further weakening of multilateralism underpinned by common norms. Intensified US-China competition, more aggressive use of subversive tools of geopolitical influence and growing nationalism are fuelling the shift from a rules-based to a power-based global order.”

With the World Health Organisation having last week issued a statement refuting the allegations of the COVID Virus having been established in a laboratory, much remains to be seen on the Sino-US relations relating to Covid-19 conspiracies.

The report further assumes that potential efforts by the current American regime to find mutual ground with China will not suffice in the long term.

“COVID-19 has entrenched state power and intensified rivalry between the United States and China. The new US administration may attempt to identify areas of cooperation with China, such as climate change and fighting the pandemic, but in the longer term, “collective leverage” against China from the United States and its closest allies is likely to deepen competition,” the report states.

With both countries vying for technological superiority, pro-domestic supply calls, restrictions on technologies, and platforms are likely to further the Sino-USA rivalry.

According to the report, “The United States and China also both seek superiority in the digital realm by restricting technology flows and platforms, restructuring supply chains and favouring domestic investment. Each power will likely continue to expand its zones of influence, and in many cases, this will happen outside traditional international forums.”

The report assumes growing trends in misinformation, with potential effects on issues related to culture, and health among other issues.

“Subversive misinformation, cyberattacks, targeted strikes and resource grabs are on the rise. The pandemic has shown how governments can wield conspiracy theories as geopolitical weapons by making accusations about other states. The next decade is likely to see more frequent and impactful dissemination of disinformation on issues of geopolitical importance such as elections, humanitarian crises, public health, security, and cultural issues.”

The report alleges the potential diplomatic fallouts that smaller nations are likely to face as the growing Sino relations frustrate the historical American global partnerships.

According to the report, “In Latin America and Africa, China’s deepening economic ties could potentially rival historic security-based alliances and cultural connections with the United States. Forced to choose sides, governments may face economic or diplomatic consequences, as proxy disputes play out in control over economic or geographic.”

The report which is published annually by the World Economic Forum, however, says that “All countries must defend against these power plays, middle powers are targeted more aggressively than smaller states, yet many lack the defensive resources of the superpowers.”

With the Sino-Southern Africa relations frustrating the past Anglo American success in Southern Africa; despite the latter’s greater contributions in development aid, it remains that Southern African countries get maximum returns from resource transactions and investments.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende