By Doina Chiacu and David Brunnstrom | Reuters
WASHINGTON, DC, 14 May 2020
US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was very disappointed in China over its failure to contain the novel coronavirus, and that the worldwide pandemic had cast a pall over his trade deal with Beijing.
The coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China, in December, was spreading as the United States and China signed a Phase 1 trade deal in January that was hailed by the Republican president as a major achievement.
“I’m very disappointed in China,” Trump said in an interview broadcast on Fox Business Network.
“They should have never let this happen. So I make a great trade deal and now I say this doesn’t feel the same to me. The ink was barely dry and the plague came over. And it doesn’t feel the same to me,” he said.
The US president’s pique extended to Chinese President Xi Jinping, with whom, Trump has said repeatedly, he has a good relationship.
“But I just – right now I don’t want to speak to him. I don’t want to speak to him,” Trump said.
Under the Phase 1 agreement, Beijing pledged to buy at least $200 billion in additional US goods and services over two years while Washington agreed to roll back tariffs on Chinese goods in stages.
A Chinese state-run newspaper has reported that some government advisers in Beijing were urging fresh talks and possibly invalidating the agreement.
Trump said again he was not interested in renegotiating.
Trump was asked about a Republican senator’s suggestion that US visas be denied to Chinese students applying to study in fields related to national security, such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence.
“There are many things we could do. We could do things. We could cut off the whole relationship,” he replied.
“Now, if you did, what would happen? You’d save $500 billion if you cut off the whole relationship,” Trump said, referring to estimated US annual imports from China, which Trump often refers to as lost money.
The remark drew ridicule from Hu Xijin, editor in chief of China’s influential Global Times tabloid, who referred to Trump’s much-criticized comments last month about how COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, might be treated.
“This president once suggested COVID-19 patients inject disinfectants to kill the virus,” Hu said in a Twitter post. “Remember this and you won’t be surprised when he said he could cut off the whole relationship with China. All I can say is he is beyond my imagination for a normal president.”
The pandemic has highlighted China’s key role in the supply chain for products from generic drugs to medical and personal protective equipment.
While US intelligence agencies said the virus did not appear to be manmade or genetically modified, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said early in May, without providing supporting information, that there was “a significant amount of evidence” it came from a laboratory in Wuhan.
In April, the World Health Organization said all available evidence suggested the virus originated in bats and was not manipulated or constructed in a lab.
In the Fox Business interview, which was taped on Wednesday, Trump focused more on China’s response to the outbreak than on its origin.
“We have a lot of information, and it’s not good. Whether it came from the lab or came from the bats, it all came from China, and they should have stopped it. They could have stopped it, at the source,” he said.
“It got out of control.”
Trump is learning his lesson only now. He should have met the Dalai Lama and learned a few things about communist China and its diabolical ways.. Birds of a feather flock together and Trump flocked with the bad guys. He is now frustrated because when you deal with dogs, you get only fleas. I would advise him to mend his unhinged ways by meeting the Dalai Lama for a change and get some real advise in dealing with the Chinese snake. He is ruing now that his friendship with Xi has not paid off and the cunning Chinese dictator sent the Chinese virus at the nick of time to ruin him and his chances of re-election in November. He is now regretting his appalling judgement in being duped by dictator Xi and feels badly let down. At this point in time, it looks grim for Trump and he has nothing to show to get him re-elected. The economy is in shambles, his own image of being unconventional is being construed as unhinged and bordering on lunacy. The only hope he has is to bash China and castigate it as the root cause of the massive economic devastation and human cost of close to one hundred thousand American lives at the door of China and shirk all responsibility. This is morally feasible as indeed the Chinese are responsible for this terrible blight on humanity. All nations across the world should turn a cold shoulder to China for what it has done and boycott meeting Xi to show their distaste at the totalitarian, anti-democratic demagogue who silenced well meaning citizen whistle blowers when the virus could have been tackled if they listened to them. It turns out that China is now admitting “unauthorised labs were told to destroy early virus samples”. This is a belated admission in response to Pompeo’s accusation of not providing virus samples to the US. You have to wonder why?