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COVID19: Blaming China for coronavirus is bad for Cyprus

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By Chris Michael

When the elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers most, according to the famous saying, and this has been proven many times over.

Now, with the coronavirus pandemic, we are facing a similar case.

According to converging information, the European Union is leaning towards imposing sanctions on China.

Already, the ground is being prepared by US President Donald Trump, who for many days now has been threatening China with measures in case Beijing proves to be responsible for creating and spreading the epidemic.

In the same vein, the US President has withdrawn US funding to the World Health Organisation, accusing it of yielding to China in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, by applauding the Chinese government’s “transparency” and accepting indiscriminately Beijing’s allegations that Covid-19  is not transmitted from one person to another.

The WHO, Trump said, has become “very China-centric.”

In this war started by the United States, it seems according to all indications, that the European Union is entering the fray of imposing embargoes and sanctions against China.

If that happens then we will definitely have another fight of elephants, the result of which will be that the grass will suffer most.

And the grass, in this case, is none other than the small states, including Cyprus.

I say especially Cyprus since we are well aware of the close economic relations between Cyprus and China.

Possible termination of these relations will be a huge blow to the Cypriot economy, perhaps irreparable.

If things come to that, we will really be talking about the collapse of the Cypriot economy and a bleak future.

The US, the EU and China may have interests and rivalries that justify each other’s attacks and countermeasures.

But this has serious implications for third parties, such as Cyprus, which must now begin to think about how it can react, what it can do to limit its impact and damage.

If a conflict becomes inevitable, Cyprus will be one of the big losers, as it will lose millions of euros from its dealings with Beijing.

Cyprus is already suffering significant damage to its economy due to the measures and sanctions taken against Russia.

If this phenomenon is now repeated with China, we can talk about a debacle.

What is necessary is for Nicosia to be able to strike a balance between its so-called partners and China. Is this possible? We shall see very soon.

However, some western circles appear determined to take action to stop the “yellow onslaught” that threatens to wipe out their economy at all levels and in all sectors.

They have already lost serious ground and further delays will cause further damage to their economies.

The coronavirus epidemic offers them an excellent opportunity to launch a counterattack.

This war, which will not be easy for anyone, will have its collateral damage.

Cyprus will be included in this collateral damage and it is not sure whether it will be able to withstand these losses and whether it will ever be able to stand on its own two feet after such a blow.

Dealing with the impending danger requires masterful handling to minimise the consequences.

If this will be feasible, is something to be proven.

However, the government must start preparing now.

The writer is a marketing consultant