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Iran Press TV

China says potential US decision to end ties 'will only hurt Americans'

Iran Press TV

Friday, 19 June 2020 2:11 PM

China has responded to President Donald Trump's recent threat to cut ties with Beijing, warning that the move "will only hurt American citizens."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a daily press briefing in Beijing on Friday that a decision to arbitrarily decouple from China would not be realistic or wise, after Trump renewed his threat to sever relations with China.

On Thursday, Trump said Washington could pursue a "complete decoupling from" Beijing.

Trump's threat came a day after US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Congress that he did not think severing bilateral trade ties was a viable option. His threat also came a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi, amid uncertainty over whether a trade pact between the two nations will remain intact.

The world's two largest economies have been at odds over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the past months. The new coronavirus, which causes a respiratory disease known as COVID-19, first erupted in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year before growing into a global pandemic.

Trump, under whose watch the United States became the epicenter of the outbreak in a matter of weeks, accused China of withholding important information in the early days of the outbreak, as he came under intense domestic criticism over his slow and inadequate response to the American outbreak.

China has fiercely defended its handling of the new coronavirus, saying it has been open in informing the World Health Organization (WHO) and affected countries about the virus.

Trump first ratcheted up tensions with China over trade, when in 2018, he introduced unusually high tariffs on imports of Chinese goods. China reciprocated, but eventually, trade frictions seemed to have eased when the US president and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed a preliminary deal in January this year.

That gave rise to hopes that relations were on the mend, but last month, Trump abruptly said he was uninterested in speaking to President Xi Jinping and suggested he might sever ties with China altogether.

More recently, tensions have also mounted between the two countries over China's move to introduce a national security law for Hong Kong.

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