China coronavirus: Top Chinese official gives crucial update on origins of deadly virus

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Mr Wang made the incendiary remark on Thursday during a visit to Norway. He was visiting Norway as part of a European trip which included the Netherlands and Italy.

He is the first Chinese foreign minister to visit Norway since 2006.

He said that although China was the first country to tell the World Health Organization of the appearance of a new disease, “it does not mean that the virus originated in China.”

Speaking to reporters, he said: “Actually, for the past months, we have seen reports … showing that the virus emerged in different parts of the world, and may have emerged earlier than in China.”

Health authorities in Wuhan, a city in central China, raised the alarm about the novel virus, which was later named as coronavirus.

It also reported the first known death related to the pathogen in early January.

He also appeared to reference US President Donald Trump, who has come under fire for referring to the virus as the “China Virus”.

Mr Wang said: “Where did the virus first start and how it started should be left to scientists and medical experts.

“It should not politicised or stigmatised.”

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He added: “Who is patient zero? It is still unknown.”

Donald Trump has sparked outrage in recent month over his labelling of coronavirus as the “China Virus” or the “Chinese Virus”.

In July, he posted a tweet including a black-and-white photograph of himself wearing a black face mask.

He also wrote: “We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance.

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“There is nobody more patriotic then me, your favourite President!”

But Twitter users took to the tweet’s comment section to express their dissatisfaction with the President’s wording.

One user said: “The name of the virus is coronavirus, not ‘China Virus’, or any of your other xenophobic names.

“Just take responsibility for your screw up and apologise to America.”

Mr Trump tried to defend his choice of words by explaining that he is using the term because China tried to blame the pathogen on US soldiers.

He said: “Because it comes from China.

“It’s not racist at all, no, not at all.

“It comes from China, that’s why. I want to be accurate.

“I have great love for all of the people from our country, but as you know China tried to say at one point … that it was caused by American soldiers. That can’t happen.

“It’s not gonna happen, not as long as I’m President. It comes from China.”

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