Washington, United States:
The United States on Friday summoned China’s ambassador after a senior official in Beijing tweeted the “ridiculous” suggestion that the US navy began the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Department mentioned.
David Stilwell, the highest US diplomat for Asia, issued a “stern representation” to Ambassador Cui Tiankai a day after international ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted the conspiracy idea.
“China is seeking to deflect criticism for its role in starting a global pandemic and not telling the world,” a State Department official mentioned.
“Spreading conspiracy theories is dangerous and ridiculous. We wanted to put the government on notice we won’t tolerate it, for the good of the Chinese people and the world,” the official mentioned.
Zhao, in tweets in each Mandarin and English that gained vast traction on Chinese social media, a day earlier urged that “patient zero” within the international pandemic might have come from the United States — not the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan, the place instances have been first reported in late 2019.
“It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation,” tweeted Zhao, who is understood for his provocative statements on social media.
His remark got here as President Donald Trump’s administration, which has confronted rising criticism over its personal coronavirus response, has more and more highlighted the sickness’s international origins, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dubbing it the “Wuhan virus.”
Cui, in distinction to Zhao, is understood for his diplomatic method. A day earlier than he was summoned, Cui tweeted that China hoped to work intently with the United States to struggle COVID-19 for “a more prosperous shared future.”
Scientists extensively consider that the pandemic began in a market in Wuhan that offered unique animals for human consumption.
Trump, chatting with reporters to announce a state of emergency over the pandemic, additionally dismissed the Chinese conspiracy idea when requested about it.
“They know where it came from. We all know where it came from,” mentioned Trump, who additionally voiced confidence that the row wouldn’t have an effect on a first-phase deal to resolve a commerce warfare.
Rampant conspiracy theories
Conspiracy theories have been extensively disseminated over social media because the novel coronavirus takes a heavy influence, with greater than 5,300 individuals useless and 140,000 contaminated worldwide.
US officers earlier advised AFP that Russia had systematically unfold disinformation in an effort to wreck the US status, with coordinated Facebook and Twitter posts that urged that the United States was behind the novel coronavirus.
Russia denied duty for the social media effort, which recalled the previous Soviet Union’s marketing campaign within the 1980s to hyperlink HIV to the US authorities.
Iran’s firebrand former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has written the World Health Organization to induce an investigation into the “biological war against humanity,” questioning why US adversaries China and Iran have been so badly hit.
Italy, an in depth US ally, formally has probably the most instances of COVID-19 after China.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is printed from a syndicated feed.)