- US president uses speech to denounce China, UN and WHO
- Beijing has ‘no intention to fight a cold war’ – Chinese leader
Donald Trump and Xi Jinping offered starkly contrasting responses to the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, with the US president blaming Beijing for unleashing a “plague” on the world – and his Chinese counterpart casting the fight against the virus as an opportunity for international cooperation.
In his recorded video address to the annual UN general assembly, Trump unleashed a rhetorical assault on China which seemed pitched at a domestic audience.
Speaking as the US death toll from Covid-19 passed 200,000, Trump promised a “bright future” but said the world “must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague on to the world: China.”
Trump also took the opportunity to attack the World Health Organization – falsely describing it as “virtually controlled by China” – and again incorrectly claiming that the international body had said there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission.
The UN general assembly has itself been remade by the pandemic, reduced to a virtual event for the first time in its 75-year history, but sharp differences over the international response to coronavirus – and the contrasting world orders being offered by China and the US – were on clear display.