INTERNATIONAL

U.S. and China exchange barbs

Trump calls SARS-CoV-2 ‘Chinese virus’; Beijing slams usage

A spat between the U.S. and China over COVID-19 escalated on Tuesday as President Donald Trump angered Beijing by referring to the pathogen as the “Chinese Virus.”

The two countries have sparred over the origin of the virus for days, with a Chinese official promoting conspiracy theories claiming it was brought to China by the U.S. Army and American officials using terms seen as stigmatising a nation.

“The U.S. will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Monday night.

He doubled down on the comment on Tuesday while Tweeting about how U.S. States were being affected, saying: “Some are being hit hard by the Chinese Virus, some are being hit practically not at all.”

Mr. Trump’s allies had previously referred to the pandemic as “Chinese coronavirus”, but Beijing said on Tuesday it was “strongly indignant” over the phrase, which it called “a kind of stigmatisation”.

The U.S. should “immediately stop its unjustified accusations against China,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

A commentary by the official Xinhua news agency said using “racist and xenophobic names to cast blame on other countries can only reveal politicians’ irresponsibility and incompetence ”.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio slammed Mr. Trump, saying his comments could incite a backlash against the Asian-American community.

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