China says US is pushing relations to 'brink of new Cold War'

China says US is pushing relations to 'brink of new Cold War'

China's Foreign Minister, Wang Yi said on Sunday that the United States is pushing relations with China to "the brink of a new Cold War,” rejecting US "lies" over the coronavirus while saying Beijing was open to an international effort to find its source.

Keeping up the worsening war of words with Washington over the pandemic and a Beijing move to tighten control over Hong Kong, Wang Yi said the United States had been infected by a "political virus" compelling figures there to continually attack China.

"It has come to our attention that some political forces in the US are taking China-US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new Cold War," Wang told reporters during a press conference at China's week-long annual parliamentary session.

Longstanding friction between the two powers over trade, human rights, and a range of other issues have been pushed to new heights since the virus outbreak.

Wang did not identify what "forces" he was referring to, but US President Donald Trump has led world criticism of China's initial response to the pandemic, which has caused more than 340,000 deaths and economic carnage worldwide.

Trump and members of his administration have said China covered up the emergence of the virus late last year and bungled its initial response.

Washington's criticism has been widely seen in the United States as an attempt by Trump to divert attention from the White House's own COVID-19 failures.

Wang took an apparent swipe at the US struggles to contain the virus, which has now infected more people in the United States than anywhere else.

"I call on the US to stop wasting time and stop wasting precious lives," Wang said.

He said China was "open" to international cooperation to identify the source of the novel coronavirus, but stressed that any investigation must be "free of political interference".

Both Trump and the US and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have accused China of a lack of transparency over the outbreak, and repeatedly said the virus was leaked from a Wuhan laboratory, an accusation China vehemently denies. 

Published on: May 24, 2020 23:18:28

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