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Iran Press TV

Speaking at UN, Trump accuses China of spreading COVID-19

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 22 September 2020 5:44 PM

US President Donald Trump has once again blamed China for the COVID-19 pandemic and called on Beijing to be punished for its handling of the disease.

In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump accused China of allowing the coronavirus to "leave China and infect the world".

Trump, who was addressing the delegates at UN headquarters in New York via video conferencing from the White House, used the derogatory term "China virus" to refer to the disease, implying that Beijing and the World Health Organization (WHO) had worked in tandem to cover up the danger of the pandemic.

Trump then started blowing his own trumpet in front of the assembled delegates, claiming that despite the joint cover up, he had been able to take prompt action, paralleling his efforts in handling of the coronavirus crises to a wartime president.

He described the administration actions as "the most aggressive mobilization since the Second World War."

Trump further touted his administration in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic by telling the delegates, "We will distribute a vaccine, we will defeat the virus, we will end the pandemic, and we will enter a new era of unprecedented prosperity, cooperation and peace."

The administration had announced earlier this month that the US would not participate in the UN's global coronavirus initiative, known as COVAX.

In the meantime, Trump has come under scrutiny for his efforts to downplay the pandemic in its early days.

He has also been criticized for being incompetent in managing to combat the disease.

Since the first known case of the disease in the US was identified in January, nearly 200,000 Americans have died.

Trump's critics believe he is shifting the blame to China.

China has called Trump's coronavirus accusation against Beijing a distraction as the US heads towards the 2020 US elections.

Addressing the UN assembly shortly after Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the world must not "politicize" the fight against the coronavirus, warning of the risks of a "clash of civilizations".

"We will continue to narrow differences and resolve disputes with others through dialogue and negotiation. We will not seek to develop only ourselves or engage in zero sum game," he said.

In addition to the accusation regarding the Chinese origin of the COVID-19 disease, the US and China are at loggerheads over a wide range of issues.

The US and China have clashed with each other over Hong Kong and Taiwan, US military patrols and navigation in the East and South China Seas, and the theft of corporate secrets resulting in shuttering of diplomatic consulates on both sides.

The two countries are also fighting a trade and technological war.

China and North Korea enjoy cordial relations, while Washington views Pyongyang as a major threat.

Recently, Trump issued an executive order to ban Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok from operating in the US.

In addition, the administration has placed visa restrictions on Chinese officials as well as Chinese nationals working and studying in the US.

Washington has also accused Beijing of interference in the upcoming US presidential election in November.

China's efforts in the revival of the Silk Road and its initiative to strengthen the military, have been some of the other conflicting points at the heart of the standoff between the two countries.

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