China said on Tuesday it was "strongly outraged" after Donald Trump referred to Covid-19 as a "Chinese virus" in a message broadcast via the social network Twitter, accusing the US President of creating a "stigma" against the country.
"We are strongly indignant and strongly oppose that expression," said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at a press conference.
"The World Health Organization (WHO) and the international community are clearly opposed to linking a virus to a specific country or region in order to avoid stigmas", he defended.
In a message spread via Twitter, Trump said that "the United States will vigorously support businesses, including airlines and others, which are particularly affected by the Chinese virus."
The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 16, 2020
US government members have previously used similar expressions, but this is the first time Trump has done so.
The reference comes after Chinese diplomacy resorted to conspiracy theories to defend that the virus did not necessarily originate in the country, where it infected more than 80,000 people and killed 3,226, but in the United States.
"The US armed forces may have taken the epidemic to Wuhan," Chinese diplomacy spokesman Zhao Lijian defended on Friday, via the social network Twitter, which is blocked in China, without suggesting any evidence. "The United States owes us an explanation," he said.
Earlier this year, Beijing designated a seafood market in the suburbs of Wuhan as the birthplace of the epidemic, pointing out that the virus had initially been transmitted through an animal species, which was corroborated by the World Health Organization.
Genetic analyzes of samples of the new coronavirus in several countries also reveal a common source in China.
In reaction, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused China of “sowing wrong information and rumors” about the origin of the new coronavirus.
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