Paris, April 20
The coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating diplomatic “fractures”, heightening US-China rivalry and weakening multilateralism, France’ s foreign minister said on Monday.
“It seems to me that we are witnessing an amplification of the fractures that have been undermining the international order for years. The pandemic is the continuation, by different means, of the struggle between powers,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said.
“My fear is that the world after (the outbreak) will strongly resemble the world before, but worse, he added. Led by the United States, criticism has been mounting in the West over China’s management of the outbreak which has killed more than 1,65,000 worldwide and hammered the global economy.
The worsening spat follows a prolonged trade war and US accusations of Chinese industrial espionage and military expansionism in the South China Sea.
Meanwhile, tattoo parlours and hair salons in Denmark, beaches in Australia, bookstores in Germany took advantage of their flattening coronavirus infection curves to tentatively shrug off lockdowns, edging toward a new yet unknown state of normal amid a devastating pandemic. The game plan is to open up but maintain enough social distancing to prevent new flareups of the virus.
“(Easing lockdowns) is not the end of the epidemic in any country. It’s just the beginning of the next phase,” WHO Head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told G-20 health ministers in an online meeting. — Agencies
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