POTUS Trump's coronavirus diagnosis may push him for tougher stance on China: Report
United States President Donald Trump's diagnosed with coronavirus is likely to push him to take an even tougher line on China, South China Morning Post reported citing Chinese observers.
The assessment came after Trump announced on Friday that he and his wife Melania Trump have tested positive for coronavirus.
Since its outbreak, COVID-19 has already killed over 200,000 Americans and more than 1 million people worldwide.
Liu Weidong, a US affairs specialist from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the diagnosis could be both good and bad news for Trump.
"But either way, the infection will give Trump a justification to begin harsh China-bashing tactics," Liu said.
"The 'good' part is he can use this as a proof to show he was working so hard to serve the country that even he contracted the virus, and voters will support him. But the 'bad' part is that he cannot appear in person at many campaign events to drum up support," Liu added.
Pang Zhongying, a specialist in international relations at Ocean University of China, said Trump's infection was "an October surprise", a news event that could influence the outcome of the presidential election.
"It remains unclear how his contraction of COVID-19 will affect the election result or whether it can help revive his imperilled re-election bid. Most polls show Trump lagging behind [Democratic nominee] Joe Biden," Pang said.
"My biggest concern is that Trump is very likely to seize the opportunity to redouble his attacks against China, and as a result to ramp up pressure on China."
Liang Yunxiang, an international relations professor from Peking University in Beijing, echoed similar sentiments.
"If he's really infected and in critical condition, it will definitely affect Trump's presidential campaign; but if he's largely healthy, he's expected to criticise China even more," Liang said.