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Former U.S. Officials Sign Letter for U.S.-China Cooperation on Coronavirus

April 7, 2020 (EIRNS)—An April 3 statement organized by Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations and the 21st Century China Center at the University of California San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, entitled “Saving Lives in America, China, and Around the World,” and signed by several dozen U.S. China scholars and former government officials, calls for U.S.-China cooperation in combatting coronavirus. “The logic for cooperation is compelling,” the letter says.

“Recent steps taken in Washington and Beijing suggest that both governments appreciate the significance of this moment and are taking some initial steps together. The purpose of this statement is to encourage further steps in that direction and to show that there is broad bipartisan support for such cooperation. It is in that spirit that this statement is offered.”

But unlike a similar letter from 100 Chinese scholars, it maintains a firm stance in the “geopolitical” landscape. It compares the situation to the cooperation of the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, still implying that China is in the category of a “rival” or “adversary.” “It is true that the United States and China are increasingly in competition and have serious differences in interests and values. But America need not concede its interests or values, or condone China’s handling of the crisis, to cooperate on coronavirus....

“In time, in order to prevent or prepare for future outbreaks, there will be a need for a global review of the coronavirus pandemic: its origins, the conditions that allowed it to spread, the failure of the institutions tasked with response, and the potential fragility of medical supply chains so critical to the health and safety of billions. But for now, as the pandemic sweeps the globe, the focus should be on finding the resolve to work together to contain and defeat the virus at home and abroad. Millions of lives in both countries and around the world will depend on it,”

the letter concludes.

Despite retaining a definite geopolitical tone, it has nevertheless been viewed favorably in the Chinese media, together with the letter of the Chinese scholars as an attempt to bring the two countries together in combatting the pandemic threat. Among the signers were Graham Allison, Jeffrey Bader, Charlene Barshefsky, William Cohen, Chuck Hagel and Jon Huntsman, to name a few.

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