WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Wednesday again lashed out at China over the coronavirus pandemic, blaming Beijing for “mass Worldwide killing“, reports AFP.
His early morning tweet, which also referred to an unidentified “wacko in China,” was the latest heated rhetoric from the White House, where Trump is making attacks on Beijing a centerpiece of his November reelection bid.“It was the ‘incompetence of China’, and nothing else, that did this mass Worldwide killing,” the president tweeted. The virus first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December and spread rapidly around the world, killing more than 323,000 people at the latest count, and triggering huge economic damage.
Trump initially played down the seriousness of the threat and said repeatedly he believed China was addressing the outbreak.
He later pivoted to blaming China for allowing the international spread.
The White House has also suggested, without offering evidence so far, that the virus originated in a laboratory and was accidentally released.
Trump has made repeated but vague threats of retaliation against the chief US economic rival.
He has also threatened to break off US funding to the World Health Organization over what he says was its assistance to China in covering up the extent of the outbreak.The diplomatic rift is rapidly opening just after Trump had been celebrating a truce in his trade war with China and comes after months of effusive praise for his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Tempers are also fraying in China, where foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian previously provoked Washington’s ire by promoting a conspiracy theory that the virus was first brought to China by the US military.
Meanwhile, China offered a low-key rebuttal to United States President Donald Trump’s accusation of mass killing on Thursday, with a foreign ministry official insisting the country did its best to protect lives during the pandemic, reports AFP.
Tensions between the US and China have been on the rise as the deadly coronavirus, which first surfaced in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, ravaged the global economy.
Trump has since made attacking Beijing a centrepiece of his November re-election bid, alleging it covered up the initial outbreak of the virus — a claim that China forcefully denies.
Beijing’s latest response came a day after Trump blamed China for “mass Worldwide killing” in a tweet, which also referred to an unidentified “wacko”.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular press briefing: “We have persisted in speaking the truth, presenting the truth and speaking with reason, doing our utmost to protect the lives and health of the people.”
Zhao reiterated China’s stance that it has “always had an open, transparent and responsible attitude” as it battled the pandemic.
He added the country has been doing its best to promote international cooperation against the pathogen.
China has come under fire for its initial response over the outbreak, which has since claimed over 325,000 lives around the globe.
As the virus continued its worldwide march, governments including the US and Australia called for an investigation into its origins, with US leaders pushing a theory that the pathogen had leaked from a Chinese maximum-security laboratory.