Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Why the Coronavirus Is Making U.S.-China Relations Worse

| Apr. 03, 2020

Washington and Beijing should compete but also need each other on transnational threats.

American relations with China were already difficult before the novel coronavirus appeared in January. Now the COVID-19 crisis has made them worse, and that represents a colossal failure of top leadership in both countries.

The COVID-19 episode illustrates both China’s strengths and weaknesses. Its initial censorship, suppression of feedback and curtailment of the free exchange of international information allowed the pandemic to develop. The tight quarantine of Wuhan curtailed its spread, China then launched a government propaganda campaign to promote the theme that it’s behavior had been benign. Worse, a foreign ministry spokesman falsely attributed the origins of the virus in Wuhan to the U.S. military, and many Chinese now believe that....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Joseph S. Nye Jr..“Why the Coronavirus Is Making U.S.-China Relations Worse.” The National Interest, April 3, 2020.