1st LD Writethru: China rejects "baseless accusation," opposes "political virus," says China's UN envoy
China resolutely rejects the "baseless accusation" against it and opposes "political virus," said China's permanent representative to the United Nations Zhang Jun on Tuesday following U.S. President Donald Trump's criticism of China's handling of COVID-19 at the UN General Assembly.
In his pre-recorded message, Trump said: "We must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world: China."
Introducing Chinese President Xi Jinping's pre-recorded message to be played, Zhang said, "China resolutely rejects the baseless accusation against China," and opposes "political virus."
The world is confronted with the severe challenges of COVID-19. There are also the problems of unilateralism, protectionism and bullying practices, said Zhang. "The world is at a crossroads at this moment. The world needs more solidarity and cooperation, but not confrontation. We need to increase mutual confidence and trust, but not the spreading of political virus."
No matter what others say, China will firmly support multilateralism, supports the United Nations to play its central role in international affairs, said Zhang.
While Trump tried to shift the blame for his handling of the pandemic to China, his country has hit another milestone in the deaths from the virus. According to the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, U.S. COVID-19 deaths surpassed 200,000 on Tuesday while the number of infections has reached more than 6.8 million. Both numbers accounted for roughly one fifth of the global totals but the U.S. population is equivalent to only less 5 percent of the world's population.
"This didn't have to happen. Tens of thousands of deaths could have been prevented," tweeted Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.