趣赢娱乐app-Senior Chinese official challenges Trump over coronavirus response, says U.S. wasted weeks
BEIJING — A senior Chinese government official challenged President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, accusing him of wasting weeks after the threat posed by the virus first became apparent.
In a wide-ranging interview with NBC News conducted in Mandarin on Tuesday, Executive Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng also hit back at the politicization of the virus.
Le, a rising star within China’s political establishment, rejected claims that the country had covered up the initial outbreak or that it should be held financially liable for COVID-19. Instead, he termed the virus a “natural disaster” and called for greater cooperation and an end to accusations.
“On Jan. 23 when Wuhan went under lockdown, the United States reported only one confirmed case, but on March 13 when President Trump announced a national emergency, the United States reported over 1,600 confirmed cases,” Le said, referring to the city in China’s Hubei province where the virus is believed to have emerged.
“In this interval of 50 days, what was the U.S. government doing? Where have those 50 days gone?” said Le, who was born on China’s industrial east coast and began his diplomatic career in what was then the Soviet Union, and is fluent in Russian.
The White House, the Department of State and the National Security Council did not respond to requests for comment on the interview. On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that the Chinese Communist Party needed to be “transparent.”
“The world seeks answers to COVID19 and its origins … China has a responsibility to cooperate,” he wrote, referring to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Pompeo has previously stated that Beijing will “pay a price” for its actions, while often adding he didn’t yet know what form that would take.
On Tuesday, the number of cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. passed 1 million, a milestone that Trump
The U.S. has recorded more than 58,000 deaths so far due to COVID-19, according to an NBC News tally.
China has been hounded by questions over missteps in its initial response to contain the virus. So far, more than 200,000 people globally have died from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Trump has heaped criticism on Beijing since the outbreak of the pandemic, at times questioning the accuracy of its official death toll and saying he was looking into speculation that the infection originated in a Wuhan laboratory — a possibility that Chinese officials have repeatedly rejected.
“Do you really believe those numbers in this vast country called China. … Does anybody really believe that?” Trump said at a White House news briefing April 15. “Some countries are in big, big trouble and they’re not reporting the facts — and that’s up to them,” he added.
Trump also shocked the international community when he pledged to stop funding the global public health body, the World Health Organization, accusing it of being too close to Beijing and mishandling the outbreak.
The White House has since ordered intelligence agencies to comb through communications intercepts and satellite imagery to establish whether China and the WHO initially hid what they knew about the emerging coronavirus pandemic, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the matter told NBC News this week.
As part of this, intelligence agencies were asked to determine what the WHO knew about two research labs studying coronaviruses in Hubei province. NBC News has previously reported that the spy agencies have been investigating the possibility that the virus escaped accidentally from one of the labs, although many experts believe that is unlikely.
After years of on-and-off trade talks, the coronavirus pandemic is the latest issue to create an impasse between the world’s two largest economies.
When Chinese medical professionals first reported cases of the virus in Wuhan late in 2019, reports were suppressed. Some, including Dr. Li Wenliang — who later died from the virus — were reprimanded for spreading what officials claimed was false information when the medical staff warned of the danger posed by the newly discovered disease, causing an outcry on Chinese social media.