The lethal virus has to date infected more than a million US citizens and killed almost 57,000 Americans. At a press conference at the White House on Monday, the US President implied that Chinese authorities didn’t do enough to stop the spread of the virus, when they had the opportunity to do so. He said that the US would be conducting “serious investigations” into what happened and suggested that the US would demand reparations from China for the damage it had caused through its negligence.
The President told journalists: “We’re doing very serious investigations … We are not happy with China.
“We believe it could have been stopped at the source.
“It could have been stopped quickly and it wouldn’t have spread all over the world.”
Last week, in an editorial article the editor-in-chief of the popular German tabloid Bild demanded reparations from Beijing to the tune of USD165 billion.
Julian Reichelt accused the Chinese leadership of deliberately keeping the world in the dark over the killer virus for reasons of national pride.
In a piece tilted “What China owes”, he wrote: “You [President Xi Jinping], your government and your scientists had to know long ago that coronavirus is highly infectious, but you left the world in the dark about it.
“Your top experts didn’t respond when Western researchers asked to know what was going on in Wuhan.
“You were too proud and too nationalistic to tell the truth, which you felt was a national disgrace.”
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When asked by a journalist about the article, Donald Trump implied that his administration was considering the option.
He said: “We can do something much easier than that.
“Germany is looking at things, we are looking at things.
“We are talking about a lot more money than Germany’s talking about.”
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“We haven’t determined the final amount yet.”
He added: “It’s very substantial. This is worldwide damage.
“This is damage to the US, but this is damage to the world.”
The issue of China is set to become one of the key themes of the upcoming presidential elections, with Trump’s campaign believing it can score heavily by portraying the Democratic challenger Joe Biden as being soft on Beijing.
Already a pro-Trump political action committee, America First Action, has launched a $10 million series of new attack ads against the Democratic challenger in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
The ads portrayed Mr Biden as being friendly to China’s ruling Communist Party, while highlighting the US president’s decision in January to ban travel from the country after the start of the COVID-19 crisis in Wuhan.
Mr Biden’s supporters have welcomed the fight and argue that Mr Trump undermined US disease control protections, allowing the rapid spread of the killer virus, that has gone on to kill over 50,000 Americans.
The Democratic challenger said on Friday that US citizens were paying the price for the President’s failure to hold China to account over the pandemic.
In a video posted online, he said: “The uncomfortable truth is that Donald Trump left America exposed and vulnerable to this pandemic.
“He ignored the warnings of health experts and intelligence agencies and put his trust in China’s leaders instead.”
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