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China rebuts Trump accusation of coronavirus ‘mass killing’

Agence France-Presse May 22,2020 - 06:28 AM

BEIJING — 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.

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 centerpiece 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.

China has since said it supports a “comprehensive evaluation” of the global response to the pandemic after it has been brought under control.

Zhao, however, said earlier in the week that the draft motion currently under discussion at the World Health Assembly is “completely different from the so-called ‘independent international inquiry’ into the pandemic previously mentioned by Australia”.

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