Saturday 16 May 2020
China on Friday urged the United States to meet in the middle of the road and enhance cooperation in combating the Covid-19 pandemic after President Donald Trump threatened to cut off bilateral ties.
Relations between the world’s two largest economies have worsened in recent weeks as they exchange bitter criticism over the origin of the virus that has killed more than 300,000 people in the world.
“Maintaining the steady development of China-US relations serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples and leads to world peace and stability,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Legian told a press conference.
“At present, China and the United States should continue to strengthen cooperation against the epidemic, eliminate it as soon as possible, treat patients, and restore economy and production. But this requires the United States to meet China in the middle of the road,” he added.
The comments came after Trump toughened his rhetoric toward China, threatening to sever ties with the rival superpower while ties have steadily deteriorated.
Trump said Thursday in an interview with Fox Business News: “There are many things we can do … We can cut all ties … We will save 500 billion dollars if we cut all of our relationship” with China.
Trump said his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping was “very good”, but added: “Now I don’t want to talk to him.”
The threat came after a week of contact between the US and Chinese trade negotiators, in which the two sides stressed their commitment to the first stage of the trade agreement reached in January.
However, doing so appears difficult to cope with the epidemic and the looming global economic downturn.
In the agreement signed in January, China agreed to buy over two years more US goods worth $ 200 billion more than it did in 2017 – before the outbreak of the trade war and the imposition of customs duties on billions of dollars in two-way goods.
Tensions rose between Washington and Beijing, and they exchanged criticism over the origin of the epidemic, which first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.