Chinese envoy takes veiled swipe at Trump for virus views

WASHINGTON • China’s ambassador to the US took a thinly veiled swipe at President Donald Trump by criticising politicians bent on making “groundless accusations” that distract from scientific information on the deadly coronavirus.

Speaking at a webcast Bloomberg event on Tuesday, Mr Cui Tiankai defended China’s handling of the disease, which has drawn fire from Mr Trump and others.

They say China failed to alert the world to the virus’ risks in a timely and transparent fashion.

“What worries me is indeed lack of transparency, not in terms of science, not in terms of medical treatment, but in terms of some of the political developments, especially here in the United States,” Mr Cui said. “So little attention is paid to the views of the scientists as some politicians are so preoccupied in their efforts for stigmatisation, for groundless accusations.”

The Chinese embassy did not reply when asked if Mr Cui was referring to Mr Trump.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing are simmering over the virus. Almost a third of the more than 2.5 million people infected globally are in the US.

Last month, the US State Department summoned Mr Cui to protest against Beijing’s comments suggesting the US military might have brought the coronavirus to China.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has said his government is trying to determine whether the virus emanated from a lab in Wuhan.

He has also expressed scepticism of China’s official death toll from the virus and halted funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for allegedly promoting China’s “disinformation”.

Mr Cui said China had been open about the virus, pointing to calls between Beijing and both Washington and the WHO in early January, as well as daily briefings on the situation.


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