Tue, 26 May 2020

Hong Kong, April 4 (ANI): While the world is busy in fighting China-originated coronavirus on a war footing, Beijing is utilising the global crisis to draw profits. In the last few days, the country has conducted military drills and deployed large-scale military assets to the maritime area.

Richard Javad Heydarian, a Manila-based academic, wrote in Asia Times that Beijing has launched a "concerted attempt" to reshape the pandemic's narrative, including the bizarre suggestion by top Chinese officials that the US military planted the virus in China.

At the time of crisis, Beijing is moving ahead in expanding its strategic and economic footprints in the South China Sea.

According to China's Ministry of Natural Resources, China recently conducted its most successful extraction of natural gas from gas hydrates both in terms of volume and production within a single day in a contested northern region of the sea.

"The ministry trumpeted its solid technical foundation for commercial exploitation to become the first country in the South China Sea to exploit gas hydrates, mineral deposits at the bottom of oceans, by utilizing a horizontal well-drilling technique," stated Heydarian.

This comes at a time when most of the world countries are using all its resources to fight coronavirus.

The US has invoked the Defense Production Act, which allows the US military to provide critical health services, and produce and transfer desperately-needed medical equipment to civilian agencies and facilities.

The Philippines and Malaysia, both at territorial loggerheads with China in the sea, have both recently placed their administrative and commercial capitals under weeks-long, military-enforced lockdowns.

Chinese government-owned media has so far trying to portray its latest sea exercises as part of fighting the pandemic. China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has also flexed its naval muscles in the area through recent military drills led by the country's first aircraft carrier, the LiaoningApparently, China is also using face-mask diplomacy to establish itself as the world leader and a friend in need. It has provided desperately needed medical equipment to worst-hit nations such as Italy and Spain.

Coronavirus first originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and then spread the whole spread. It has infected more than 1 million people and killed more than 54,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The US has emerged as the new centre of the epidemic and has reported more than 245,500 cases, with more than 6,000 deaths. Meanwhile, China's Hubei province, the epicentre of coronavirus in China, has not reported a single coronavirus case. Authorities in the province have lifted restrictions. (ANI)

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