Donald Trump tears into China for unleashing coronavirus; demands accountability
The raging coronavirus pandemic took center stage at the UN General Assembly with US President Donald Trump blaming China directly for unleashing the virus onto the world and also urging world leaders to hold Beijing accountable. His Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, however, said the health crisis posed as an opportunity for cooperation. Ironically though, his country's army is working toward expansionism.
UN must hold China accountable, said Trump
This time the UNGA session in New York consisted of pre-recorded statements of world leaders, and Trump used this occasion to endorse his achievements and rip into rivals. "The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions," said Trump in his eight-minute-long speech, the shortest address by a US President in over two decades. He added China unleashed the plague.
Trump reminded China levied restrictions on domestic, not international, travel
"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 said.
He also had harsh words for WHO
The US President, frequently targeted back home over his handling of the pandemic, criticized WHO, as well. "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. His remarks were hardly surprising considering how he broke ties with WHO over its alleged collusion with the Chinese government.
China's trade abuses and disregard for environment were also mentioned
Before Trump spoke, the US touched a grim benchmark in coronavirus pandemic as the death toll surged past the 200,000-mark. On the situation in his country, Trump assured that a "bright future" awaits the US. The US President also attacked China over environmental pollution and trade. Saying that Beijing indulged in trade abuses, Trump said he was standing up for it.
Trump said China overfishes waters, dumps plastic into oceans
"Every year China dumps millions and millions of tonnes of plastic and trash into the oceans, overfishes other countries' waters, destroys vast swaths of coral reef, and emits more toxic mercury into the atmosphere than any country anywhere in the world," Trump went on.
UN was asked to focus on real problems by Trump
Trump, who faces re-election in November, also had a word of advice for the UN. He suggested the global body focuses on real problems like "terrorism, the oppression of women, forced labor, drug trafficking, human and sex trafficking, religious persecution, and the ethnic cleansing of religious minorities." He also urged other leaders to prioritize their countries, just like he was doing.
Rejecting Trump's allegations, China said world needs cooperation, not confrontation
Soon after Trump's speech, China rebuked all allegations. In his opening remarks, China's Zhang Jun said, "The world is at a crossroads. At this moment, the world needs more solidarity and cooperation, but not confrontation." Xi also took a similar tone and offered financial help for vaccine efforts, in what seemed like a clear attempt to allay the growing mistrust he is facing.
While Trump slammed WHO, Xi relied on its "guidance"
Xi said the world should follow WHO's guidance, as it finds its way through the crisis. "Any attempt of politicizing the issue or stigmatization must be rejected," said the Chinese President. "We will continue to narrow differences and resolve disputes with others through dialogue and negotiation. We will not seek to develop only ourselves or engage in a zero-sum game," Xi added.
PLA sparking tensions but Xi claimed China "doesn't want war"
Xi also tried painting himself as a harbinger of peace, saying his country had no intentions of sparking a cold or hot war with anyone. "We will never seek hegemony, expansion, or sphere of influence," Xi said. His comments are in deep contrast to the People's Liberation Army's actions along LAC, where tensions are showing no signs of subsiding despite talks between India and China.