Donald Trump has launched his strongest attack yet on China over the caronavirus, saying the world was “paying a big price’’ for Beijing’s role in the now global pandemic.
The president’s anger towards China, where the virus began, has increased almost daily as the massive cost in lives and to the economy becomes more apparent, both in the US and around the world.
His comments came as the number of coronavirus cases soared past 11,000 in the US with 157 deaths.
Mr Trump said China did not do enough to contain the virus when it first emerged in Wuhan in late December and then failed to warn the world about its seriousness and contagiousness.
“It would have been much better if we had known about this a number of months earlier. It could have been contained to that one area in China where it started. And certainly the world is paying a big price for what they did,” Mr Trump said at the White House.
Mr Trump was angered by Chinese propaganda which claimed the virus was caused by US soldiers. Beijing was secretive about the early spread of the virus, delaying the response of the US and other nations.
Mr Trump criticised the US media for claiming he was “racist’’ for calling it the “Chinese virus’’.
“They are siding with China,” he said, naming The Washington Post, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Mr Trump said the US was in “unchartered territory’’ as the number of known cases in America increased alarmingly in recent days although part of this reflects an expansion of testing. A growing number of cities and states are now shutting down bars, restaurants and cinemas and calling for people to stay at home.
China was negligent and deceitful.
The consequences of China's inaction and misleading conduct are now playing out across the world.
China should pay a price for that.