The Covid-19 pandemic will usher in a dangerous new phase in US-China tensions. How can states find their way around this geopolitical minefield?

SINGAPORE (May 15): The Covid-19 pandemic may have brought the whole world to a standstill, but empty streets and quiet markets could merely be the calm before the storm. With the US and China choosing to play the blame game instead of collaborating to resolve the worst global health crisis in a decade, businesses can expect heightened geopolitical risks after the crisis blows over. 

For political science professor Khong Yuen Foong, the pandemic could not have come at a worse time, inflicting a geopolitical “triple whammy” on US-China relations that is already hurting from the trade war. And while the ideological differences between Republicans and Democrats are more pronounced than ever, both see China as a strategic rival. America’s political Right moreover blames China for the pandemic. Such rhetoric will only grow more strident as campaigning heats up ahead of US presidential elections in November.

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