President Trump on Tuesday skewered Beijing for floating an accusation that the U.S. military deliberately infected the Chinese people with coronavirus to make it appear as though the virus originated in China.
“China was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them. That was false,” Trump said at a press briefing at the White House. “And rather than having an argument, I have to call it where it came from. It did come from China.”
“I did not appreciate the fact that China was saying our military gave it to them. Our military did not give it to anybody,” the president added.
China has disputed that the outbreak began in China, and a foreign ministry spokesman suggested that the U.S. military may have brought the virus to the country. China’s official news agency Xinhua meanwhile accused U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of spreading a “political virus” against China with their criticism that the country handled the outbreak poorly and failed to warn other countries.
Asked whether his calling the rapidly spreading pandemic the “Chinese virus” creates a “stigma,” Trump answered in the negative.
“No, I don’t think so. I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma,” he said.
The Communist Chinese government on Tuesday took issue with Trump’s name for the illness, saying it is “strongly indignant” over the phrase and calling it “a kind of stigmatization.” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang demanded that the U.S. “immediately stop its unjustified accusations against China.”