Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, a notable development in the Asia-Europe relations is the rise of Beijing’s overt and covert diplomatic offensive facing Europe. China’s increasingly assertive and threatening approach, also known as the “wolf warrior” diplomacy, has alarmed many Europeans. There also seems to be a consensus regarding Beijing’s behavior amid the pandemic. It has been mostly counterproductive and leading to the notion that China is losing Europe.
However, it seems that it could still be too early to make that call as the argument that China is losing Europe could give false hopes that Europe is winning–the battle has barely started, and it will be a long hard one.
What is clear is that Beijing’s heavy-handed strategy of intimidation has alienated many Europeans. It has also damaged China’s public image in Europe. Europe’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has warned of a “global battle of narratives” regarding the pandemic and criticizes Beijing’s attempt to “play on” differences between Europeans.