With the coronavirus outbreak forcing major lockdowns throughout China and causing turmoil in global markets, Asia House invited Victor Gao, Vice President of the Center for China and Globalization, to share insights at its major conference in Riyadh.
Interviewed live from Beijing by videolink, Gao shared his thoughts with an audience of senior business and policy figures at the Asia House Middle East Trade Dialogue in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Asked by Asia House Chief Executive Michael Lawrence about the economic impact of the virus, Gao made some stark predictions.
“According to my calculations, eventually China will probably lose up to about 20 working days in this epic fight against the coronavirus,” Gao said.
“That means more or less about one month, one calendar month, in terms of lost opportunities of work, especially in the manufacturing sector.”
Gao also discussed US-China relations during the interview, calling for more cooperation between the world’s two biggest economies.
“I’m a believer that we all need to do our work to promote better relations between China and the United States,” he said, adding that this will benefit not only the US and China, but also “all the economies in the world” including Saudi Arabia.
“To relaunch a cold war between China and the United States is the worst scenario for both the United States and China.”
When asked about tech tensions between the two nations, particularly over Huawei, Gao argued that the US’s concerns were unwarranted.
“I think the US government is barking up the wrong tree to single out Huawei – as if Huawei as a company could really threaten the political survivability of the US political system,” Gao said.
He also argued the US’s real concern was having Huawei as a competitor, describing the company’s technology as “ahead of the game by three or five years”.
Gao also highlighted the strong ties between Saudi Arabia and China, calling the Kingdom “a great friend of China” and praising it for “all the assistance, and the support and solidarity that the Saudi Arabian government has expressed during China’s fight against the coronavirus”.
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE