Corona virus and the necessity of multilateralism in the interdependent world


Accept this problem that in today's world, international risks cross countries' natural borders and in a global way, they engage all societies, indicates a kind of political maturity in all international actors. The politicization of economic issues, an increasing importance of environmental pollution and Its dangers to societies, by influencing international relations, it shows the vulnerability of governments and societies in the face of events which occur in the territory of other countries. In this space, the main feature of the international system, is complexity, numerous and interfering relationships, conflict and cooperation.

Corona virus, which is now known by the official name covid-19, is one of the phenomena that, according to the head of the World Health Organization "No country should assume that is immune of it, this assumption not only is wrong, but also will be irreparable. The virus does not respect international borders." This pandemic phenomenon after emergence, by challenging all international actors, has forced everyone to turn to cooperation and convergence to restrain the crisis.

In this direction, in the present writing Which is dedicated to the role of multilateralism in dealing with the corona phenomenon. First, China's approach in front of coronavirus outbreak and evaluate the actions of the country, and then, the reactions that has been done at the international level to this disease and the consequences of corona emergence have been analyzed at the international level. The final section, have critical review of America's critical views on China which examines the US approach to the spread of the virus in China.


  1. China's encounter with the coronavirus


With the emergence of the Corona Crisis, in addition to the deaths of Chinese citizens, the country's economy is facing its most difficult test since the 2008 global economic crisis. Some analyzes have stated, corona virus outbreak if controlled in three months, it will reduce its real GDP by 0.8 percent and, if controlled in nine months, by 1.9 percent. However, compared with the SARS outbreak in 2003, china's economy is more fragile and needs more contrives is felt by the government of this country.

Like any country, china also does not want to hurt its residents and economic benefit, the emergence of the virus was an event outside the control of the Chinese government that according to the World Health Organization, the source of the outbreak is still unknown. However, China's position in the international system is such that has caused the unfortunate reality of this country is interpreted as its imprudent rumors. Travel, high population numbers, economic interaction, etc… are topics that are important to China's role in the world. But at the same time, the cost of such events raise for other governments. In this phenomenon, identifying the source of dissemination, preventing the spread, management and aggregation of required resources to combat the disease and eradicating it, the first step was to focus on China and related specialized international institutions, and then other governments in the international interaction system.

Because china before this problem had similar experienced of the outbreak of the SARS crisis in 2003, had some necessary preparation to manage this phenomenon: First, in the field of healthcare, according to the World Health Organization, the action of the country's officials has been very different from the SARS phenomenon and much more pragmatic.

In just ten days china has built a hospital for the afflicted, and even before the order of the World Health Organization declared quarantine that included the separation of fifty million people in Wuhan and surrounding cities. In the second step, because corona outbreak is not limited to health, neither nationally nor internationally, at national level, the Chinese government in the field of governance was facing by an immediate answer to four issues: Public health crisis, economic hiatus, the possibility of anger and public distrust and answering to possible damage to the global reputation of this country.


Prompt answer to public health crisis: In four cases above, according to SARS experience China has made great efforts for synchronization and collaboration at the national and international levels. About the general health crisis, this country immediately began cooperating with the World Health Organization and provided information to the organization and the international network of scientists, at the same time, china at the national level, provided the necessary infrastructure for agile management of this crisis to understand this important, the World Health Organization reports need to be considered.

- Prompt answer to economic hiatus: China contrary to the SARS control period (2002-2005) that was in economic dynamism, today is facing with economic hiatus and this economic pressure caused by the epidemic) means economic hiatus caused by the fight against disease, disruption of public transport, closures of restaurants and entertainment places) increases coping with it. On the economic issue, china has adopted difficult decisions to slow down its growth process.

- Prompt answer to the possibility of anger and public distrust: media incitement, like during the SARS outbreak, it provokes the anger and distrust of the Chinese people.

Some articles, in distrust of the Chinese government, they praised Japan's response to Corona, some in Hong Kong took advantage of this crisis to oppose the Chinese government. In the meantime, Chinese officials by appearing among the people, in public space such as hospitals and showing their attention to the health of citizens, they took a big step towards calming the society and preserve national solidarity.

- Prompt answer to possible damage to China's reputation on the global stage: Many have accused Chinese officials that's a few weeks before the matter was reported to the World Health Organization they were aware of the matter and have not taken any action. According to SARS experience in this type of accusation, China acted from a very high level. Xi Jinping, the President of this country, He himself took up the matter of confrontation with Corona, which had high positive effect on China's international approach. With this action even stubborn critics have been unable to criticize the government. While to the positive actions that China has taken to curb the spread of the disease and protect its national interests, there have been also some challenges that include: Bypassing the centralism and bureaucracy: it is said, one of China's problems in dealing with the corona virus, there has been centralism in this country. From this point of view, the possibility of delay in the initial reaction to the virus has had no surprise. Bureaucratic approach that has given all authority to a limited circle in the realm of power, it causes wait for the command from above. Nevertheless, the direct entry of the Xi Jinping into the subject was able to largely circumvent bureaucracy and successfully responded to the crisis.

- Insufficient experience with epidemic and Warning system defective: in spite of the SARS experience in 2002 – 2005, the reaction of Wuhan authorities to the coronavirus is evaluated very slowly, that due to the weakness of China warning system and bureaucracy is trying to downplay the crisis. This also shows the fear of making decisions when there is not enough information.

- Circumventing economic hiatus: China's non-dynamic economic situation is also a problem that Beijing in response to reduce growth rate, pursued flexible fiscal policy with an emphasis on public investment. Before Coronavirus, the government of this country, forced big banks to reduce bank profits for individual borrowers and small businesses that have suffered from the effects of the economic war with the United States and now, with the outbreak of corona virus this procedure continues.

What was said shows China intends to in addition to monitoring the issue at the national level, follow its foreign policy by obeying from decisively and daringly policy that’s from Xi Jinping time until now, China has pursued a silent policy. It seeks to change its international image, from security and disruptive acting to economic-security acting and to protesting the existing international order, but it adheres to its requirements

China have inclined Such events have the least impact on its international relations and most of all, at the international level passage of this crisis to provide benefit from it.

As a result, China’s accusations of non-cooperation may be institutional weakness, but there is no intention in accordance with country's macro strategies in the international system that requires international cooperation and credibility.


  1. International reaction to the corona virus

Global response to the corona shows, when the spread of the epidemic threatens countries economies and credibility globally, finally, there is complex link between public health, science and politics shows itself. Reactions to the emergence of the coronavirus can be examined at the national, regional and international levels.

At national level, countries have applied their own specific experiences in some way that according to the dependence of the subject on these specific experiences, the approaches have been very various. At regional level, especially in Europe cooperation and convergence have taken place before the entry of global organizations; But globally level, should pointed the approach of the United Nations and its affiliated institutions who have acted with strong will. Also the role of the international media should not be denied which are evaluated both positive and negative.

- The role of the United Nations in creating convergence: While criticism of international institutions, especially the United Nations has become epidemic trend and a kind of distrust can be seen to this organization and its affiliated institutions. The coronavirus has shown the benefits of forming United Nations and its affiliated institutions that Proves that multilateralism in the world is still necessary to maintain international peace and security. Within the framework of the international institutional order, international governments have reciprocal rights and responsibilities. In crisis such as the emergence of the corona phenomenon, that is not limited to a specific geography and has affected on one of the world's largest economies. It is felt more and more the need for cooperation, multilateralism, and the strengthening of regional and international cooperation. Mutual rights and responsibilities in this crisis were also seen between the World Health Organization and China, between the Health Organization of other countries, and between China and other countries.

- The role of the World Health Organization: In the meantime, it must be acknowledged that the World Health Organization has played one of the most important roles in confronting the corona phenomenon. This organization by declaring a public health emergency whit international importance and subsequently announcing special travel restrictions, the organization has an important responsibility in controlling international contagious diseases. Although according to the news, before the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the coronavirus, many countries have imposed restrictions on travelers from China. Announcing. this situation causes the issue global and formal dimension.

- The role of the World Health Organization's subordinate institutions: World Health Organization with taking advantage of the lessons learned during the SARS outbreak and with awareness of the absolute need for empowerment to coordinate existing international resources when an epidemic occurs and focus resources to identify priorities and finding a solution to the problem set up tools to confront SARS. At present, these institutions have expanded and they have exact synergy with each other. These institutions include:  Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GOLPID-R), Global Initiative on Sharing all Influenza Data (GISAID).

- The role of countries committed to multilateralism: However, use of these tools will be fruitless except with the mentality that requires international cooperation and presence in the global information network, and it doesn't matter whether it is China, the United States or any other actor who does not accept this. The view that actors must adhere to their international obligations must be clear. For example, some European countries or some countries in Southwest Asia by demonstrating its commitment to international cooperation, have played facilitating role in strengthening the mindset. in return for receive donations from the World Health Organization, China has tasked to cooperated with the organization internationally. Similarly, China's neighbor countries in Southeast Asia have been tasked co-operate with the organization and with China.

- The role of international media: It should be said that international media and cyberspace networks are the most important sources for information, which of course have positive and negative effects. And there was need for synergy between national and international regulative systems for earning information about the fight against corona. The existence and synergistic of national and international regulatory system allows scientific information about the disease to be able to help diagnose and prevent epidemics in a timely manner, correct clinical treatment to patients and help patterning, understanding possible future orientation and the efficiency of various interventions. At the same time, the media may cause fear and mental insecurity in communities and provoke reactions. provoke reactions that make it more difficult to manage crises by creating cluster problems (such as reducing crisis control tools, such as masks).

In general, China's crisis Management and cooperation with the World Health Organization that was accompanied by the fast delivery of information, it showed a "global network" and the international community which currently exist, can facilitate the gathering of experts from around the world to focus research and development efforts on the crisis, in order to maximize impact. Many experts approve, the World Health Organization, as a professional institution, has implemented well its mission in cooperation with China.

The organization's management not only shows that it is useful in global-scale epidemics,

but it also highlights its essential role and unavoidable position: As a result, once again it became manifest in the face of a global threat, only multilateral response with emphasis on the role of international institutions can be sufficient. This important result, which has been accepted at the operational and medical levels, should also be considered at the strategic and policy level.

3- Consequences of Corona Emergence at the International Level

The spread of COVID-19 is not limited to the health care and national affairs of a country.

This is a multidimensional and international issue that in general, it will affect in six areas in the short-term and medium-term future of International Affairs.

- A blow for the global economy: This crisis will impact the global economy; thus has brought the major interference in china's economic activities and should also added the economic impact of restrictions on international travel. As a result, there will be seen significant slowdown in the world's second-largest economy, which is the engine of global economic growth.

According to the World Bank estimates, global GDP could shrink by 0.5 percent. in other words, it caused $3 trillion of damage, that has a global impact on all countries in the world.

- Interference in the global supply chain: The second issue, is occurrence of interference in the international supply chain; because China is the largest manufacturer in the world and participates in almost all sectors of the global economy and it has about 30 percent of the world's added value in commodity production.

- Reducing the level of China's diplomatic commitments: The Corona Crisis could overshadow foreign events and meetings, such as the EU-China summit in Beijing in March, although Xi Jinping has taken measures that he can attend the scheduled meetings (like traveling to Japan)

- Impact of initiatives on countries involved «One Belt, One Road»: Due to road closures and travel restrictions, on the Chinese side, the goods needed for construction will not reach the countries that have been involved in the country's initiative and there will be interruptions in investment which will affect the set of partner countries in this plan and their partners.

- Possibility of damage to the international reputation of the Chinese government: with expanding Crisis The issue of "China's delay in informing" should be further investigated and to question the credibility of the government of this country in the role of responsible acting in the international system. This means that can no longer be prevented by the reaction of some countries to restrict or remove China from their circle of political relations.

- Possibility to reduce dependence on Chinese goods: This crisis as China's exports have stopped in the short term, in the long run it will cause countries to reduce their dependence on Chinese goods. Of course, these last two are just assumptions that may not be true in the realm of pragmatist and the reality of the economy.

According to these points, the Corona phenomenon should be considered as an issue that will cause damage to other countries in the context of international interdependence. In 2003, China accounted for 4% of the world's GDP and today accounts for 17% . also this country had accounted for 70 percent of the world's economic growth last year and it is obvious that economics is an issue that by creating convergence, it affects all international affairs. This means that the crisis in China will affect the whole of world affairs.

4- Corona, the United States, another flaw to the requirements of unilateralism

With full awareness of the principle of national interests, external actions guide also America's "competitive" understanding of China at all economic, military, political and technological levels.  In the Corona crisis, the United States has been criticized for ignoring a multilateral approach to against the crisis or at least it can be said are trying to use it against China. In the conflict with Corona, World, especially in Europe and America over outbreaks, rumors have been involved; afraid of catching disease people change their route on the street to avoid contact with the Chinese; The action that have a sudden insight is that all the Chinese are infected with the virus and transferred them to others.

Some American media have used headlines to report the coronavirus that is obvious their intentions about China. Coronavirus is a bigger threat than terrorism, Don't believe China's story, and examples like this. But Professor David Hyman, a high-ranking official of the World Health Organization for 22 years, states in his article: China quickly (within a day) shared information with the World Health Organization and it has provided a coordinated response at the national and international levels this indicates a full understanding of the lessons learned from the outbreak of SARS. In his view, criticism of China's credibility [and other countries involved] it may be entered at the international level, especially if these criticisms are not allowed, it will cause side damage, especially for the next crisis. So, in Himan's view, the question is whether American critics want to create better or worse human conditions. Their choice is a decisive issue for human. Which determines the future lines of passage of countries from national to international borders, Their tendency for convergence and international cooperation, and the betterment of world affairs. There is a lot of debate about Unilateralism behavior of the President of the United States, Given that the country is in the midst of elections, according to the World Health Organization with more than 50 positive cases of corona in this country and the possibility of the virus spreading in the United States, what plans will the claim government have for this country.


5- Conclusion


Considering these points, the Corona phenomenon it should be noted that its presence in the space of international interdependence will also cause damage to other countries. At the same time, the structure of the international system has placed a responsibility on China, as well as on international organizations and other countries to combat this transnational threat.

China intends addition to monitoring the issue at the national level, follows its foreign policy by obeying from decisively and daringly policy that’s from Xi Jinping time until now with the aim of trying to earn achievements and distance itself from the less commotion and clandestine activities politics. China has pursued a silent policy. It seeks to change its international image, from security and disruptive acting to economic-security acting and to protesting the existing international order, but it adheres to its requirements. as a result, wants to, such events have the least impact on the country's international relations, most of all, overcoming this crisis provide its benefit.

At the international level, given China's position in the international economy and the interdependence of many countries, while this dependence descends on other areas and the economic interaction of all international countries, the Corona Crisis is an issue that requires international cooperation and convergence. At present time, With the support of the United Nations and the World Health Organization countries are trying to do the most help and support to reduce the destructive effects of this phenomenon. The US approach so far, unlike Japan, which has been trying to resolve the crisis, has been good more on China's phobia and taking advantage of this crisis to compete with China and define itself as a superpower. in return, Proponents of multilateralism, especially US allies in Europe, they have used a pragmatic approach to focus on their national interests and to help resolve this international crisis.