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Post-coronavirus, the UK must find some friends to stand up to China

Author:
Martin Kettle

Covid-19 has seen China supplant the US in the global power league. Alliances are now crucial to reject the superpower’s bullying

Amid the pandemic, the great issues of the day are inescapably immediate and health-centred. But eyes will lift eventually, and as that happens we will notice how the wider world has already changed as a result of Covid-19. A lot of the speculation about the post-coronavirus political world is plain fanciful. But there was a gripping reminder this week about one effect that is now more real than ever: the pandemic’s role in boosting the global heft of China.

The rise of China is of course not new. In some Chinese perspectives, it goes back centuries. Even from a western viewpoint it was already well advanced before the pandemic. But when the Obama administration’s US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, was asked this week by the Commons foreign affairs committee to assess Covid-19’s impact on the global order, she turned first and without hesitation to China’s rise.

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