The US and China clashed during a virtual United Nations meeting Thurday over their responses to the coronavirus pandemic.
The remarks from both parties came just after the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke about the lack of international cooperation to stem the threat of COVID-19.
Two days earlier, US President Donald Trump had used his address to demand action against China for spreading the “plague” to the world.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, at the end of a digital meeting with UN Security Council members on “Post COVID-19 Global Governance,” alluded that countries — including the US — were choosing to not make a vaccine a global public good available to people everywhere.
China’s top envoy also stressed the importance of cooperation with the vaccine, and the need to put the “future of humankind” first.
The US’ UN Ambassador Kelly Craft fired back, saying: “I am actually really quite ashamed of this Council — members of the Council who took this opportunity to focus on political grudges rather than the critical issue at hand. My goodness.”
She added that council members needed to “work together in transparency and in good faith.”
China, however, asked for the floor after the meeting came to a close and dug their heels in.
“I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” said China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun, though the US envoy had left by the time the Chinese ambassador spoke.
“With the most advanced medical technologies and system in the world, why has the US turned out to have the most confirmed cases and fatalities?” Zhang asked in the video conference attended by several world leaders.
He urged the US to behave like a major power, echoing a line that Washington has lobbed at Beijing before. The Chinese envoy added thatthe US was “completely isolated.”
The sharp exchanges reflected deep divisions between the world powers as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak, which originated in China’s Wuhan district in December last year.
tg/stb (AFP, AP)
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