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China's virus diplomacy: Global savior or 'Wolf Warrior'?

17 0 18

China has played two roles in the global battle against the coronavirus: a benevolent donor of aid, filling the US void, and combative superpower ready to bite back at critics.

Gone are the days of low-profile diplomacy promoted by late leader Deng Xiaoping, who said Beijing should "hide your strength, bide your time".

Attitudes have changed under President Xi Jinping, who has pushed an increasingly confident policy abroad since taking office in 2012.

The country has become even more assertive this year in the face of attacks over its handling of the pandemic, which started on its shores in December.

Beijing has sent planeloads of medical equipment abroad, pledged $2 billion in international aid to combat COVID-19 and offered to make its potential vaccine available to all.

The strategy is in line with China's use of its economic might to win friends on the world stage, with Xi's signature Belt and Road global infrastructure program also expanding its influence abroad.

"Chinese aid, like other countries, is part of its soft power and also has commercial and political aims," Jocelyn Chey, a former Australian diplomat and visiting professor at the University........

© Japan Today