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A senior Chinese diplomat called for an increase in global solidarity in the midst of the crisis and said Donald Trump should not waste his time attacking Beijing but rather work with other governments to resolve the crisis. The US President has said the global pandemic was caused by a “mistake” in China and accused the country’s leadership of trying to cover it up.
And countries around the world have joined a rising chorus calling for an immediate inquiry into the origins of the disease.
China’s President Xi Jinping has said such an investigation will not be allowed until the pandemic boils over.
Speaking to domestic and foreign reporters at the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress on Sunday, the Chinese government’s top diplomat Wang Yi, who is also China’s foreign minister, offered his sympathy to the US.
America is the epicentre of the global outbreak, with 1.6 million Americans infected with coronavirus and 98,683 deaths.
Mr Wang said: “Regretfully, in addition to the raging coronavirus, a political virus is also spreading in the United States.
“This political virus is using every opportunity to attack and smear China.
“Some politicians have ignored the most basic facts and concocted too many lies about China and plotted too many conspiracies,” he added.
“I want to say here: Don’t waste precious time any longer, and don’t ignore lives.
“What China and the United States need to do the most is to first learn from each other and share their experience in fighting against the epidemic, and help each country fight it.”
Tensions between Washington and Beijing have threatened to boil over in recent weeks as both sides trade barbs over the epidemic.
The two top economies have also clashed over a number of other issues including trade, US support for Chinese-claimed Taiwan and human rights.
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The latest topic to cause friction in the already fractious relationship in Hong Kong.
President Trump has vowed to “react strongly” if China imposes a controversial security law in the island city.
Mr Wang said China and the US need to start coordinating macro policies for their respective economies as well as the world economy.
He said the President Xi’s Government remains prepared to work with the Americans in the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect when asked if Sino-US relations would go from bad to worse.
He added: “China has always advocated that, as the world’s largest developing country and the largest developed country, both of us bear a major responsibility for world peace and development.
“China and the United States stand to gain from cooperation, and lose from confrontation.”
In April, Missouri became the first US state to sue the Chinese Government over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, saying China’s response to the outbreak that originated in the city of Wuhan brought devastating economic losses to the state.
Mr Wang said such lawsuits lacked any legal basis.
He said: “The China of today is not the China of a century ago, and nor is the world.
“If you want to infringe upon China’s sovereignty and dignity with indiscriminate litigation, and extort the fruits of the hard work of the Chinese people, I am afraid this is a daydream and you’ll only humiliate yourself.”
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