Q. How will the World be Dealing with China in a Post-Pandemic World?
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Replied by Prerna Gandhi

This is one of the most pressing International Relations questions today. But before we can reach a post-pandemic world, there is going to be an interim period that will be equally important. China’s role in the global economy has expanded in the last two decades which have conferred it a larger strategic heft. The underlying rationale of supply side strengths, plentiful forex reserves, increasing technological expertise and continuous military modernization make it a power to reckon with. However, the question of unprovoked Chinese military aggression on multiple fronts during an ongoing pandemic has raised serious doubts on the ability of China to play any constructive leadership role. Ignoring and fundamentally undermining other countries sovereign and territorial interests make China bereft of regional and global trust. Further, accountability for the pandemic that originated inside China and upended the entire world will only gain ground. The international relations discourse for free, transparent, sustainable, and democratic values will expand from closed diplomatic discussions to the larger public. Also, the sheen of China's lucrative market potential has weakened considerably as economies across the globe reset to focus on reining in deflation, increasing their domestic employment and building their own technological hubs for a post-pandemic economic order.

Then, the United States rivalry with China is getting entrenched for a long haul. And the growing bipartisan American consensus to rein in the Chinese ambitions, will be a tall order for China to handle. While many countries have sought to draw lines in not getting pulled along with the vehement US rhetoric on China, no one has endorsed the visions of a Chinese-led world order either. For instance, though the European Union has stated its aim of having more robust relations with China, it has massively stepped up its scrutiny of Chinese foreign investments and vocal criticism of Chinese state-owned enterprises. Also, as governments strengthened banking regulations after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, we may see government interventions create new externalities beyond current business rationales in reshoring critical supply chains back home. The defining chasm to watch out for, will be the reactions China receives in its geopolitical neighbourhood. Chinese aggressive actions in the South China Sea and East China Sea during the on-going pandemic has prompted strong reactions from ASEAN and Japan.

Date : 20/06/2020
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