Beijing has lashed out at Washington after US President Trump said he wished China ‘could have told us earlier’ about the coronavirus outbreak.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs today accused the US of ‘slander’ and ‘scapegoating’ over Trump’s implication of a government cover-up.
It condemned America for ‘wasting the precious time China bought the world’ in the prevention of the pandemic. It also labelled Washington’s actions as ‘immoral’ and ‘irresponsible’.
The latest tit for tat comes as China and the United States lock horns in an escalating diplomatic row over the origin of the coronavirus. Both sides accuse the other of causing the global outbreak.
Trump called the coronavirus ‘the Chinese virus’ once more at a press conference on Sunday despite being warned by Beijing to ‘correct the mistake immediately’.
Geng Shuang (pictured last Wednesday), a spokesperson from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, condemned the US for ‘wasting the precious time China bought the world’ in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. He slammed Washington’s actions as ‘immoral’ and ‘irresponsible’
US President Trump said on Saturday that he wished China would have informed him about the epidemic sooner. He said at a press briefing: ‘I wish they could have told us earlier about what was going on inside. We didn’t know about it until it started coming out publicly’
Geng Shuang, a spokesperson from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also condemned US State of Secretary Mike Pompeo for accusing China, Russia and Iran of giving false information about the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Geng criticised US federal agencies of teaming up and launching smear campaigns against China.
He said at a press briefing in Beijing: ‘I can’t help but ask who exactly is spreading disinformation, confusing the public and confounding black and white?’
He accused the US of playing ‘inferior tricks’ of slander and diverting people’s attention from its own mistakes.
Mr Geng also condemned US State of Secretary Mike Pompeo for accusing China, Russia and Iran of giving false information about the pandemic. Pictured, patients wait in line outside the fever clinic of Wuhan Union Medical College Hospital for nucleic acid detection on March 18
Mr Geng said at a press briefing in Beijing: ‘I can’t help but ask who exactly is spreading disinformation, confusing the public and confounding black and white?’ Pictured, doctors at fever clinic of Wuhan Union Medical College hospital perform tests for patients on March 18
Mr Geng went on to slam the US for wasting the time Beijing had won for the world to stem the spread of the virus.
He said: ‘In the past two months or so, Chinese people have united as one, spared no effort in fighting the epidemic with one heart and one mind, bought the whole world precious time in stemming the pandemic and made a significant contribution.’
The official then questioned: ‘In this precious time, what has the US side done?’
He claimed that China started to give regular reports about the outbreak to the US and the World Health Organization on January 3.
He blamed the US for failing to impose any effective measures, which caused the number of its confirmed cases to soar from just over 10 to more than 300,000 in the space of 50 days or so.
‘By now, the US side is attempting to slander others, shifting its responsibilities and looking for a scapegoat. These acts are not only immoral but also irresponsible. They provide no help to America’s own counter-epidemic efforts or the counter-epidemic collaboration of the international community.’
President Trump said on Saturday that he wished China would have informed him about the epidemic sooner despite having praised the nation for its ‘efforts and transparency’ in January.
Trump also said at the press briefing that ‘I have a tremendous relationship with President Xi’. Cardboard cutouts displaying images of US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping with protective masks are pictured near a gift shop in Moscow, Russia, on March 23
Trump thanked China and President Xi for their ‘efforts and transparency’ in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak in a tweet on January 24. But he explained on Saturday that he wished China could have been transparent about the outbreak in Wuhan much earlier
He said at a press briefing: ‘I have great respect for China. I like China. I think the people of China are incredible. I have a tremendous relationship with President Xi.’
But he quickly pointed out: ‘I wish they could have told us earlier about what was going on inside. We didn’t know about it until it started coming out publicly.
‘But I wish they could have told us earlier because we could have come up with a solution.’
The remarks came nearly two months after President Trump thanked China for its ‘efforts and transparency’ in tackling a deadly virus.
He tweeted on January 24: ‘China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!’
Speaking of the conflicting comments, President Trump said on Saturday that he did think highly of China’s containment when he sent that tweet, but he wished China could have been transparent much earlier.
He added: ‘China is not a beneficiary here. China has lost thousands and thousands of people. China has gone through hell over this… I just wish they could have told us earlier. They knew they had a problem earlier.’
President Trump doubled down on the claim at the daily press briefing on Sunday.
He told reporters: ‘I’m a little upset with China, I’ll be honest with you. Because as much as I like President Xi and as much as I respect the country and admire the country… they should have told us about this.
More than 470 have died of the coronavirus and over 35,000 have been infected in the US
A medical worker wearing a single protective glove and a face mask walks past a line of workers and visitors waiting to be tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, at the main entrance to the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York today
China and the United States are going head to head in a new diplomatic dispute over the origin of the contagion, which has killed more than 15,000 people worldwide.
A Beijing’s spokesperson this month heeded a conspiracy theory and claimed that the virus might have been brought to Wuhan by the US military.
While US President Trump repeatedly referred to the virus as ‘the Chinese virus’ and insisted that ‘it’s not racist at all’.
Beijing’s top coronavirus expert denied that the bug originated in Wuhan for the second time last Wednesday and slammed such claim as ‘irresponsible’.
‘The epidemic of the novel coronavirus pneumonia indeed took place in China, in Wuhan… but it does not mean its source is in Wuhan,’ said Dr Zhong Nanshan, the leader of a team of experts appointed by China to tackle the health crisis.
Dr Chen Xuyan (pictured), the director of the ICU Department of Beijing Tsinghua Chang Gung Hospital, expressed her surprise at how quickly American researchers were developing coronavirus vaccines on Chinese state broadcaster CCTV last Tuesday
A Chinese medical expert also suggested that the US might have obtained a specimen of the novel coronavirus before China did, raising the possibility that Washington had known about the disease before Beijing.
Dr Chen Xuyan from Beijing claimed that the first possible vaccine had entered clinical trials in America ‘way too quickly’.
She made the comments on Tuesday state broadcaster CCTV on Tuesday after a team in Seattle injected the first shots of an immunisation candidate into humans.