China has reacted angrily after US President Donald Trump called the coronavirus the “Chinese virus.”
The spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry Geng Shuang says Trump’s words smears China and said Beijing strongly opposes his usage of the words.
President Trump tweeted on Monday: “The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!”
Shuang told reporters during a daily briefing that the U.S. should first take care of its own matters.
But Trump then doubled down on his original social media post in response to New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who wants the military to build hospitals.
In response, Trump tweeted: “Cuomo wants “all states to be treated the same.” But all states aren’t the same. Some are being hit hard by the Chinese Virus, some are being hit practically not at all. New York is a very big “hotspot”, West Virginia has, thus far, zero cases.”
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China’s ambassador to the US was summoned over remarks made by Shuang suggesting that the US may have brought the coronavirus to China.
“On the spot, China made counter-representations to the US over the attacks and smears that some senior U.S. officials and congressmen made towards China,” Shuang told reporters during a daily briefing.
Geng said the two countries should improve cooperation and address the issue of global health safety together as the coronavirus spreads throughout the world.
Chinese state news agency Xinhua reports Shuang accused ‘certain American politicians’ of promoting stigmatisation by connecting the novel coronavirus with China.
He said at a daily news briefing: “We express strong indignation and resolute opposition to this.”
A petition calling for Trump to apologise over his tweets has appeared on the White House’s website.
It reads: “President Trump owes all Chinese apologies for naming COVID19 “the Chinese Virus” in his latest twitter, especially under the circumstances where the origin of COVID-19 is not scientifically definite yet. Not only is his twitter defiance against science, but also cause hostages among Chinese and the other races.”
The petition needs 100,000 signatures in order for the White House to respond.
So far, it has just over 30,000.
China meanwhile has seen a rise in confirmed coronavirus cases.
It was announced on Monday that mainland China had 21 new confirmed cases, the National Health Commission said, up from 16 a day earlier.
Of the new cases, 20 involved infected travellers arriving in China from abroad.
In contrast, mainland China only had one case of locally transmitted infection on Monday, in Wuhan, capital of central Hubei province where the flu-like disease appeared in humans late last year.
While the coronavirus was first discovered last year in Wuhan, where officials initially tried to cover up the outbreak, China has sought to emphasise the positive role it has played in controlling the global spread of the disease.
An editorial in the official China Daily on Tuesday said the rest of the world should learn from China and follow the principles of early detection, early quarantine and early treatment in order to halt the global spread of the disease.
Top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday that attempts by U.S. politicians to denigrate China’s efforts to curb the coronavirus would not succeed, and could lead to retaliation.
The tally of confirmed U.S. cases has multiplied rapidly in recent few weeks, exceeding 4,300. At least 80 people in the United States have died of the virus.