- Trump has, on many occasions, blamed Beijing and the WHO for the impact of the pandemic in the United States.
- Chinese President Xi Jinping has rejected what he described as any “attempt to politicize” or “stigmatize” the pandemic.
- UN Secretary General António Guterres has warned of a “new Cold War” between the United States and China.
United States President Donald Trump, on Tuesday, called upon the United Nations to compel China to “account” for “infecting the world” with COVID-19. He also hit out at the World Health Organization (WHO), describing it as a mere puppet of the Chinese government.
“The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions,” related to the pandemic, the President said in his fourth speech to the UN General Assembly. The speech was virtual, having been pre-recorded at the White House.
“In the earliest days of the virus, China locked down travel domestically while allowing flights to leave China and infect the world. China condemned my travel ban on their country, even as they canceled domestic flights and locked citizens in their homes,” Trump added.
The UN, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, is holding a virtual international summit where leaders from around the world have submitted their pre-recorded video speeches.
Trump: WHO is Chinese ”Puppet”
Trump has, on many occasions, blamed Beijing and the WHO for the impact of the pandemic in the United States, the worst hit country in the world. According to data from the Johns Hopkins University, more than 6.9 million cases have been recorded in the United States, causing 200,000 deaths.
“The Chinese government and the World Health Organization [WHO], which is virtually controlled by China, falsely declared that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission,” Trump said. He was referring to initial statements by the U.N.’s health body that it later revised.
Xi Against “Politicization” and “Stigmatization” of COVID-19
In his video message to the UN, Chinese President Xi Jinping has rejected what he described as any “attempt to politicize” or “stigmatize” the pandemic, and has stressed that the response to the disease must be “guided by science.” That role, Xi said, should be left to the WHO.
“The virus will be defeated. Humanity will win this battle,” said the Chinese President, who has called for international cooperation and support for the most vulnerable countries. In this sense, he stressed that the possible vaccines that China is developing with several in the last phase of clinical trials, will be considered a “global public good,” and will be distributed as a priority to developing countries.
“Any attempt to politicize or stigmatize this issue must be rejected,” stressed Xi, who has also defended that the powers must do their part to recover after this crisis, not only within their borders, but also in the rest of the world.
The Chinese President has thus announced that his government will provide more funds for the United Nations humanitarian response to the pandemic, and that it will extend its cooperation with the organization on development matters.
Guterres Warns Against a “New Cold War”
Meanwhile, the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, has warned of a “new Cold War” between the United States and China, noting that at the moment, it is headed in a very dangerous direction.
“Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a great fracture – each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities,” Guterres said.
Guterres stressed that the world “is simultaneously facing an age-old health crisis, the greatest economic calamity and job loss since the Great Depression and new and dangerous threats to human rights.”