Economists and business leaders criticized the remark of a senior United States official, saying it is both unwise and immoral to take advantage of others' troubles.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview with Fox Business on Thursday that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China will benefit the US as it will help accelerate the return of jobs back to North America.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in statement on Friday that the comment by Ross was inaccurate and inappropriate.
Zhang Yansheng, chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said that despite the groundless job return comment, Ross added insult to injury by showing "zero respect" for basic human morality.
"It is human nature to feel empathy for people who are suffering from pain or even death. This is not only for China this time, it should be same for any country in the world that encounters temporary emergencies," Zhang said.
Zhang's views were shared by Larry Kudlow, director of the US National Economic Council. The White House's top economic adviser told reporters on Thursday that the coronavirus and job growth were separate issues, Reuters reported.
Several US companies, especially manufacturing firms, have expressed their determination to increase investment in China.
New York-based Carestream Health Inc said that the company will concentrate on development in China.
"Whether now or in the future, we will continue to introduce innovative, cost-effective solutions to meet new challenges in the field of healthcare in China," said Liu Jie, vice-president of Carestream Health Inc and president of Carestream China.
Michael Dell, founder and CEO of US tech giant Dell Technologies, said earlier that the company operates extensively in China and will continue to pour at least $33 billion in investments each year into the country.
"Dell is here in China, for China," he said. The US firm has also donated the first batch of 2 million yuan ($288,000) to help purchase badly needed materials in the country's novel coronavirus outbreak struggle.
Wei Jianguo, former vice-minister of commerce and vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said: "It is widely recognized that the epidemic is short-term and will not have a big impact on China's economy including the manufacturing industry in the long term."Wei added that the epidemic pushed forward China's innovation.
As China and the US have just signed the phase-one trade agreement, Wei noted that it is also "unwise" for the US side to throw a "grenade" in this key period.
"It is unreasonable to break the stable and long-term relationship that the two countries have set as fundamental during the trade negotiations," Wei added.
Zhang agreed, saying that the remark from Ross also shows that "zero-sum" logic hasn't changed."It showed that some on the US side still believe that anything that is not good for China will do good for the US, which is obviously wrong."