US President Donald Trump speaks during a Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo: AFP)
After repeatedly scapegoating China for his administration's botched response to the coronavirus, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday took the finger-pointing game to a new level.
In an interview with Reuters, Trump said, "China will do anything they can to have me lose this race" and that making him lose to Joe Biden could ease trade and other pressures of Beijing.
The Chinese foreign ministry refuted the remarks, saying on Thursday that China has no interest in interfering in the US election. But Trump's statement indicated the growing tensions and how US politicians are fiercely competing in the "who's tougher on China" game to score points in the election.
Experts said Trump's strategy is to portray presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as "pro-China" to get more votes, and his tricks are "trite and corny." It's inevitable for US politicians - Republicans and Democrats - to play the China card in the election, given US anxiety over China's success in epidemic control and China's growing influence in the international community.
"Chinese people are very clear that both the Democrats and the Republicans have a strong stance and consistent strategies toward China, so there is not much a difference of who is the president. Trump just tried to stigmatize China to trap more voters," Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday.
Li noted that the Democratic Party is also active in issues related to China. "China has mature strategies to deal with the US no matter who sits in the White House," Li said.
Trump has been actively blaming China amid the pandemic after the two countries have reached a historic agreement on a phase one trade deal, including accusing China of con-cealing the real infection numbers and smearing China's efforts in the epidemic control.
"For a long time, the US government has been trying to pass the buck and shift focus from their poor performance on handling its domestic COVID-19 outbreak. But the US' move will not erase China's achievement in combating the virus after arduous effort, and it only exposes the ulterior motives and problems of some US politicians," Geng Shuang, the spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry, said on Thursday.
According to Li, some American elites feel threatened by China's growing power, especially its decisive ability and global impact in the fight against the pandemic.
Li predicted that American politicians would try even harder to contain China in the future given the short-sightedness of these American politicians.
A Shanghai-based international relations expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Thursday that Trump's move serves his political interests rather than the interest of American people.
The strain of economic devastation caused by the epidemic far outweighed the cost of launching a trade war. The spat against both his election opponent and China was due to his incompetence and helplessness of saving people's life and economy, the expert said.
The US coronavirus cases surpassed 1 million on Tuesday, the first country in the world to pass the 1 million mark, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. CNN reported that the death toll in the US surpassed troop deaths in the Vietnam War.
As of April 20, China has provided the US with over 2.46 billion masks, nearly 5,000 ventilators, 29.2 million protective outfits, and 3.13 million pairs of goggles, media reported.
"Virus is the enemy of all human beings, and China is also the victim of the virus. We should work together, and some US politicians should know that their enemy is the virus, not China," Geng said.