Americas

Trump: 'Chinese virus' counter-strategy against China

US leader claims China shies away from further accusations against US on COVID-19 thanks to his 'Chinese virus' statement

Vakkas Dogantekin   | 30.03.2020
Trump: 'Chinese virus' counter-strategy against China

ANKARA

U.S. President Donald Trump Monday said his "Chinese virus" statement for weeks was a counter-propaganda strategy to fight Chinese allegations that American soldiers brought coronavirus to Wuhan.

Speaking to TV program Fox & Friends aired in the mornings, Trump said every country does propaganda including the U.S. and China to undermine their rivals.

"They [China] do it, and we do it. And we call them different things, and, you know, I make statements that are very strong against China, including the 'Chinese virus,' which has been going on for a long time. I mean, I wouldn't say they were thrilled with that statement," Trump said.

Trump said when Chinese officials started saying "Your soldiers did it", he asked them in response: "You mean the Chinese virus?".

"Then all of a sudden, they call and say let's talk nicely," Trump added, claiming that his communication strategy worked out.

Several users of the Chinese social media platform Weibo have claimed that the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was introduced to China when 300 U.S. military members arrived in the Wuhan region for the Military World Games in mid-October and infected the local population.

None of the U.S. service members who made the trip have tested positive, according to American officials.

Chinese respiratory specialist Zhong Nanshan stated at a news conference in February that "though the COVID-19 was first discovered in China, it does not mean that it originated from China."

Earlier in March, Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took to Twitter and directly blamed the U.S.

"...When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!" he said.

In retaliation, Trump and a few Republican lawmakers have for weeks been labeling the coronavirus as the "Chinese virus” or the "Wuhan virus".

As of Monday, global death toll from the novel coronavirus climbed over 35,000, according to figures compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The virus known as COVID-19, which emerged in Wuhan, China last December, has spread to at least 177 countries and regions around the globe, while a total of 35,019 people have died, and confirmed cases hit 738,000.

In all, 156,507 people diagnosed with the virus have recovered from the disease.

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