China urges US to commit to defeating COVID-19, not issue 'ultimatum' to WHO
China on Wednesday urged the United States to commit to defeating the COVID-19 pandemic at an early date, instead of issuing an "ultimatum" to the international organization that leads the fight against the pandemic.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a press conference when asked to comment on the response of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy at the European Commission and Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva to the letter published on Twitter by US President Donald Trump.
"It is clear to see that the international community generally disagrees with the US actions of distorting the facts, contradicting itself, blaming others and undermining international cooperation in fighting the pandemic," Zhao said.
Zhao said China has clarified and refuted the fallacies listed in the letter many times.
The letter claimed "Taiwanese authorities had communicated information to the World Health Organization indicating human-to-human transmission of a new virus." The fact is the e-mail sent by the Taiwanese side to WHO on December 31 did not mention human-to-human transmission at all, mainly to get information from the WHO.
The so-called "Chinese leader on January 21 reportedly pressured WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus not to declare the coronavirus outbreak an emergency" is totally fabricated. Both China and the WHO have issued solemn statements. Chinese leader never talked with Director-General Tedros over the phone on January 21.
Regarding the accusations against WHO Director-General Tedros for praising the Chinese government for its transparency with respect to the coronavirus, announcing that China had set a new standard for outbreak control, the US side seems to have forgotten that the US leader has publicly and positively evaluated China's anti-epidemic work on many occasions.
On January 25, President Trump tweeted that China has been working very hard to contain the coronavirus, and the United States appreciates China's efforts and transparency. On March 13, President Trump told reporters that the data shared by China would help the United States fight the pandemic, according to Zhao.
"There are still more mistakes and loopholes on the US side, as well as more lies and rumors. I will not list them one by one," Zhao said, adding facts are laid bare for all to see, and the international community has its own opinion on the credibility of this letter.
When Wuhan entered lockdown on January 23, there was one confirmed case in the United States. On February 2, the United States closed its border to all Chinese citizens and foreigners who had been to China in the past 14 days. There were 11 confirmed cases then according to official data from the United States. On March 13, the United States declared a national state of emergency. At that point, the number rose to 1,264. On March 19, confirmed cases passed 10,000. On March 27, the number surged to more than 100,000. On April 8, when the lockdown on Wuhan was lifted, the number of confirmed cases in the United States was 400,000. Today, it is more than 1.57 million, with more than 90,000 fatal cases.
"We are saddened by these lost lives and wish the American people an early victory over the pandemic," the spokesperson said, adding US politicians might be good at political manipulation, but their attempt to shift blame will not work, because the consequences of their irresponsibility are too costly.
Noting China is not only responsible for the safety and health of its own people, but also for the global public health cause, Zhao said China has taken the most comprehensive, strict and thorough prevention and control measures.
Zhao said with an open, transparent and responsible attitude, China has timely updated the WHO and relevant countries including the United States on the pandemic, shared the genome sequence of the virus at the earliest time possible, continues to share experience in prevention and treatment with all parties without reservation, and help other countries in need to the best of its ability, Zhao said.
Stressing China's firm support to the leading role of the WHO in global anti-pandemic cooperation, the spokesperson said unilateralism, selfishness, evasion of responsibility and even coercion and intimidation of the WHO are acts of indifference to life, challenges to humanitarianism and undermining of international cooperation against the pandemic.
"We advise some US politicians to reflect on themselves, stop political manipulation and use their energy to save more lives," Zhao said.