In a sign of further deterioration of ties between US and China, US President Donald Trump said that he has lost interest in speaking to President Xi Jinping and went on to suggest that his country could even cut ties with the China following the outbreak of deadly pandemic of the Wuhan Coronavirus.
Donald Trump, speaking to Fox News on Thursday, said he was very disappointed with China’s failure to contain the disease and that the pandemic had cast a shadow over the US-China trade deal. “They should have never let this happen,” Trump said. He added, “So I make a great trade deal and now I say this doesn’t feel the same to me. The ink was barely dry and the plague came over. And it doesn’t feel the same to me.” “But I just – right now I don’t want to speak to him,” Trump said in the interview.
We could cut off the whole relationship with China: Donald Trump
Attacking the Communist nation China for spreading deadly pandemic coronavirus across the world, the US President threatened that he would cut off ties with China. “There are many things we could do. We could do things. We could cut off the whole relationship,” he replied. Referring to growing US imports from China, Donald Trump said that cutting ties with China would save $500 billion to the US, the estimated trade deficit of the US with China. “Now, if you did, what would happen? You’d save $500 billion,” he said.
Echoing similar sentiments, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that China needed to provide a lot more information about the coronavirus and Trump was reviewing his options. “The president is concerned. He’s reviewing all his options. Obviously, we’re very concerned about the impact of this virus on the economy, on American jobs, the health of the American public and the president is going to do everything to protect the economy and protect American workers,” Mnuchin said.
Mnuchin added that it was a difficult and complex matter and the president has made very clear, he wanted more information. They did not let us in, they did not let us understand what was going on and the American public have the right to understand all the facts, the US Treasury Secretary added.
US administration to withdraw billions of dollars worth American pension fund investments from China
Just yesterday, Donald Trump administration had decided to pull out billion dollars worth of American pension fund investments in China. On Thursday, US President Donald Trump confirmed that his administration has asked for the withdrawal of billions of dollars of pension fund investments in China as a response to China’s failure to notify the world regarding the Chinese Coronavirus.
We are willing to meet US halfway: China goes defensive
Meanwhile, following President Trump’s diplomatic offensive, China has urged the United States to meet it halfway and strengthen cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. China has also insisted that it has been transparent amidst increasing tensions between US and China. “To maintain the steady development of China-US relations is in the fundamental interests of the people in both countries, and is conducive to world peace and stability,” said foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a press briefing.
Zhao Lijian added, “At present, China and the US should continue to strengthen cooperation against the epidemic, defeat the epidemic as soon as possible, treat patients, and restore economy and production. But it requires the US to meet halfway with China.” In a goodwill gesture, China also took some additional steps towards those goals on Thursday after it bought US soybean oil for the first time in nearly two years and issued customs notices allowing imports of US barley and blueberries.
Trump’s war of words with China
Trump has repeatedly accused Beijing of failing to caution the world regarding the severity and scope of the coronavirus outbreak and of withholding data about the earliest cases. The United States has been hardest hit by the pandemic with more than 1,458,243 positive coronavirus cases and nearly 87,000 deaths.
Earlier, Trump had triggered a diplomatic war with China by repeatedly referring the Novel Coronavirus as Chinese Virus. Several leaders in the United States have been highly critical of both China and WHO of their handling of the situation, accusing them of hiding vital information and underplaying the crisis at the beginning. US President Trump had also expressed doubt over the accuracy of Chinese statistics for cases and deaths. He had also said that he has ‘high degree of confidence’ that Coronavirus originated in Wuhan Institute of Virology, China.