COVID-19: Don’t want to talk to Xi Jinping right now, says Trump
Washington: US President Donald Trump has said that he does not want to talk to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping right now, expressing his displeasure at Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak which has spread across the world, killing over 300,000 people.
The US has expressed disappointment over China’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic which has claimed 87,530 lives in America. President Trump on Thursday threatened to “cut off the whole relationship” with China.
The president has been pressing China to agree for an inquiry into the origin of the virus, including the allegation that it emerged from a lab in Wuhan.
“Just don’t want to talk to him right now. We will see what happens over the next little while,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday, when asked why he did not want to not speak to Xi.
China, as per the trade deal inked earlier this year, is buying a lot more of American goods than last year.
“They are spending a lot on the trade deal, but the trade deal I don’t know somehow I lost a little flavour for it, you can understand,” Trump said.
Earlier in the day, Trump said he did not want to talk about the trade deal.
“I don’t want to talk about it. I can say China is buying a lot of our products. But the trade deal – the ink was barely dry – when this (coronavirus) came in from China. So, it’s not like we’re thrilled,” he said.
“This should have never happened. This came from China. It should have been stopped in China before it got out to the world. 186 countries are affected. Each country that’s affected is the same thing. Russia now is badly affected. France is badly affected. You look at each country and you can say ‘affected’ or you can say ‘infected’, either way you want to put it,” he said.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that President Trump was frustrated with China.
“I will leave it to the president as to when he resumes speaking with the Chinese leader. But look, China slow walked this. I’ve shared with you guys before on human-to-human transmission. It was really important that the world knew of that aspect of the disease, but that information was slow walked through to the WHO,” she said.
The genetic sequencing, likewise, was not given until a professor in Shanghai did so on his own. The president has repeatedly noted that why are they letting flights out of China but not into China? These decisions put American lives at risk. Not just American lives, the lives around the globe, she said.
“We know that this disease came from China, and why that information was not shared, some of the information I just suggested is really unacceptable. So he’s frustrated at this point, and I’ll leave it to him,” McEnany said.
China has denied America’s accusation of covering up the extent of its coronavirus outbreak and accused the US of attempting to divert the public attention by insinuating that the virus originated from a virology laboratory in Wuhan.
“China was the first country to report the COVID-19 to the World Health Organisation (WHO), (and) that doesn’t mean the virus originated from Wuhan… There has never been any concealment, and we’ll never allow any concealment,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said last month.
“A discerning person will understand at a glance that the purpose is to create confusion, divert public attention, and shirk their responsibility,” he said.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration will not tolerate efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to undermine the privacy of US citizens or the integrity of next-generation networks worldwide.
“(Chinese technology company) Huawei is an untrustworthy vendor and a tool of the Chinese Communist Party, beholden to its orders. The Department of Justice has indicted Huawei for stealing US technology and helping Iran evade sanctions, and the Department of Commerce has placed Huawei on the Entity List in 2019.
“The Department of State has engaged for more than a year to share what we know about Huawei and other untrustworthy vendors with allies and partners around the world,” he said.
On Friday, the Department of Justice expanded rules to prevent Huawei from undermining US export controls, closing a loophole that has allowed the company to exploit US technology and threaten national security.
“It also imposes US export control restrictions on countries that use US technology or software to design and produce semiconductors for Huawei. Companies wishing to sell certain items to Huawei produced with US technology must now obtain a license from the United States,” Pompeo said.
The US will continue to restrict most American exports to Huawei and its affiliates on the Entity List for activities that threaten US national security and international stability, Pompeo said.
The novel coronavirus which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan last year has claimed 307,666 lives and infected more than 4.5 million people globally, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The US is the worst affected country with 87,530 deaths and over 1.4 million infections reported so far.