- US President Donald Trump has said that if China is responsible for the pandemic it should suffer consequences
- He wanted to know if China was "knowingly responsible" for allowing the virus to get out of control
- Trump's critics have accused him of using China as a deflection for his own failures to contain the virus
US President Donald Trump has warned China that there could be repercussions if it is discovered that it was “knowingly responsible” for the Covid-19 pandemic. Trump has been increasing pressure on Beijing on its reaction to the outbreak.
“It could have been stopped in China before it started and it wasn’t, and the whole world is suffering because of it,” Trump told a daily White House briefing.
Two of the world's largest economies were in a war of words at a time when international cooperation is most needed.
“If it was a mistake, a mistake is a mistake. But if they were knowingly responsible, yeah, I mean, then sure there should be consequences,” Trump said. He did not elaborate on what actions the United States might take.
Trump and his advisors have alleged that China's lack of transparency in reporting on the virus when it broke out in December last year has resulted in the virus spreading out of control.
The US President also cut funding to the World Health Organisation, accusing it of being China-centric. Initially, Trump praised China for its response to the virus but has since done a u-turn and now calls the disease the "Chinese virus" according to Reuters.
Trump also lashed out at early attempts by Chinese officials who said the virus originated in a US military base.
Trump's domestic critics have accused the president of using China's handling of the virus to deflect from his own failures in responding to the pandemic.
The US president had said that the two countries had been on good terms until the virus outbreak,
“But then all of a sudden you hear about this,” he said.
He said that it was embarrassing for China but he wants to know if:
The virus was “a mistake that got out of control, or was it done deliberately?”
“There’s a big difference between those two,” he said.
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