China says US prolonging coronavirus crisis

China's ambassador to the United Nations, Wang Qun, says the United States’ position against the World Health Organization (WHO) is artificially prolonging the coronavirus pandemic, warning against the consequences of Washington’s arbitrary trade barriers on the global economy.

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he had no interest in talking with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in what seems to be a further degeneration of Washington-Beijing ties amid the coronavirus pandemic, adding that he might even decide to sever relations with Beijing.

Trump, who has repeatedly accused China of failing to contain the highly contagious disease, said Beijing’s failure had cast a pall over his January trade deal with the world’s second largest economy.

Speaking at a meeting with officials from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna on Thursday, Wang Qun said "The US has done its utmost to engage itself in blaming games and stigmatization of China, and WHO, so as to shift its own responsibility for ineffective control of the pandemic in the US."

The United States has recorded more than 85,000 deaths from the coronavirus, the highest number of deaths in the world.

"Such acts by the US have not only disrupted and undermined international efforts and cooperation against the pandemic, but also artificially prolonged, in effect, the pandemic, and subsequently the standstill of the global economy, which will, in turn, result in the outbreak of systemic risks in some countries in debt-servicing and financial system," Wang added, according to remarks published on Friday.

Last month, Trump halted funding to the WHO, accusing the international body of mishandling the deadly flu-like pathogen.

Wang also denounced Washington’s policy of imposing arbitrary tariffs, which ignite trade rows, for jeopardizing the global economic recovery.

He warned that such policy measures would lead to a drastic reduction in the volume of international trade and would disrupt the free movement of global goods, personnel and services.

"China now manufactures 30% of the world’s industrial goods and boasts 30% of the world’s trading volume. So, given such factors as costs, labor and workers, infrastructure and operating costs, how can the supply chain in China be relocated overnight by another country at will?" the Chinese envoy said.

He also decried Washington for exacerbating humanitarian crises in countries such as Iran and Venezuela with new "long-arm extra-territorial sanctions".

Iran has written to the UN and all international organizations, urging removal of the US’ measures and underlining their counterproductive effects on Iran’s fight against the viral outbreak.


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