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China denounces US for shifting blame over COVID-19 pandemic

A high school senior student checks the body temperature of her classmates before a class in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on May 6, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

China has lambasted the United States for trying to shift the blame over the COVID-19 disease after President Donald Trump claimed that the global pandemic was a worse "attack" compared to Pearl Harbor or September 11, 2001 attacks.

"We urge the US side to stop shifting the blame to China and turn to facts," said China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a press conference on Thursday.

Her comments came just a day after Trump said the new coronavirus "is really the worst attack we've ever had" and that it is even "worse than Pearl Harbor" and "the World Trade Center."

Trump further said the COVID-19 pandemic "should have never happened" and that it could "have been stopped at the source … in China", accusing Beijing of mismanagement in containing the disease.

He referred to the Japanese aerial attack on the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, that ultimately drew the US into the World War II, and also the four coordinated attacks on the US soil that killed nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing have soared to a fever pitch in recent days and the two sides have traded barbs over the handling of the pandemic.

In response to Trump, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the US might compare the current pandemic to "Pearl Harbor or 9/11, but the enemy facing the US is the novel coronavirus."

She also urged Washington to "fight side-by-side" with Beijing instead of fighting as "enemies."

"Lots of foreign countries, experts and scientists have all made positive comments on China's effective virus prevention and control," while "the US alone has made some very disharmonious, untruthful and insincere remarks," Hua said. 

The COVID-19 disease, caused by a new coronavirus, was transmitted from wildlife to people in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has affected 212 countries and territories across the globe and infected more than 3,849,330 people and killed over 265,930 others so far.

Official figures by China’s Health Ministry show that as of Thursday, 82,885 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 4,633 others have died.

Contrary to the US accusations, the Chinese government introduced draconian measures to combat the spread of the new coronavirus and has largely managed to contain the disease.

On the other hand, official figures by the US Health Ministry show that as of Thursday, 1,263,898 people have tested positive for the contagious disease and 74,825 others lost their lives.

During the past few weeks, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has spared no effort in alleging that the coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, claiming that he has "tremendous evidence" to support the theory. However, earlier this week, he admitted that Washington could not be certain about the lab origin theory.

This is while there is a general consensus among scientists that the new coronavirus jumped from certain animals to humans, possibly from a market in Wuhan selling exotic animals for meat.

Pompeo has accused Beijing of withholding virus samples he said were needed for global vaccine research, demanding transparency. He has also accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of being too slow to respond to the disease.

In her remarks on Thursday, Hua supported the WHO in trying to pinpoint the origins of the pandemic, slamming Pompeo for telling one lie after another in his attacks on Beijing with his so-called lab origin theory.

“We are always open to cooperate with the WHO on matters, including on the question of origin,” Hua said, citing a timeline of signals from France, Sweden and the US that the coronavirus might not have emerged in China.

“While scientists have not come to a conclusion, why is Secretary Pompeo drawing the hasty conclusion that the virus came from a Wuhan lab? Where is his proof? Show us the proof. If he cannot show any evidence, then he may still be in the process of making up this evidence,” she added.

Hua also said Pompeo had contradicted himself in interviews regarding the origin of the virus. “The reason why he contradicts himself is because he is always making up a lie to cover up another lie. This is an open secret.”

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