The US President Donald Trump told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that China must be held accountable for having “unleashed” COVID-19 on the world, prompting Beijing to accuse him of “lies” and abusing the UN platform to provoke a confrontation.

Iran PressAmerica: China’s President Xi Jinping struck a conciliatory tone in his pre-recorded virtual address to the General Assembly, calling for enhanced cooperation over the pandemic and stressing that China had no intention of fighting “either a Cold War or a hot war with any country.” as Reuters reported.

But China’s UN ambassador Zhang Jun rejected Trump’s accusations against China as “baseless” and said: “lies repeated a thousand times are still lies.”

Trump and Xi, leaders of the world’s two largest economies, laid out competing visions at a time when relations have plunged to their worst level in decades, with coronavirus tensions aggravating trade and technology disputes.

Trump, facing a November re-election battle with the United States dealing with the world’s highest official number of deaths and infections from the coronavirus, focused his speech on attacking China.

Xi’s address contained what appeared to be an implicit rebuke to Trump, calling for a global response to the coronavirus and a leading role for the World Health Organization, which the US president has announced plans to leave.

“We should enhance solidarity and get through this together,” the Chinese President said.

“We should follow the guidance of science, give full play to the leading role of the World Health Organization and launch a joint international response … Any attempt of politicizing the issue, or stigmatization, must be rejected.”

In this regard, the World Health Organization (WHO) rejected Trump’s remarks.

“No one gov’t controls us,” WHO communications director, Gabby Stern tweeted, adding: “On Jan. 14 our COVID19 technical lead told media of the potential for human-to-human transmission. Since February, our experts have publicly discussed transmission by people without symptoms or prior to symptoms.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin told the General Assembly the WHO should be strengthened to coordinate the global response to the pandemic and proposed a high-level conference on vaccine cooperation.

China has portrayed itself as the chief cheerleader for multilateralism at a time when Trump’s disregard for international cooperation has led him to quit global deals on climate and Iran, as well as the UN Human Rights Council and the WHO.


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