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Foreign policy

How the Coronavirus Impacts China and its Foreign Policy

Image courtesy of Macau Photo Agency/Unsplash.

This article was originally published by the United States Institute of Peace on 13 February 2020.

The U.S. and China have a mutual interest in containing the outbreak, but exchanges over the virus have not been without friction.


China hit a grim landmark earlier this week when the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak surpassed 1,000 with over 40,000 recorded cases of infection—and those numbers are rising every day. The outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China, has rattled global markets and catalyzed concern over a widespread epidemic beyond China’s borders. The suffering has been immense, and people in China and those with family or friends there are frightened about what’s next. Meanwhile, there are shortages of masks and supplies and hospitals are overrun, with rising anxiety due to travel restrictions and quarantine policies.