BY ARUL LOUIS
United Nations, Sep 22 (IANS) US President Donald Trump lashed out against China on Tuesday demanding that the UN should hold Beijing responsible for the consequences of unleashing the plague of COVID-19 on the world.
Speaking at the General Assembly’s high-level meeting in a pre-recorded address, he said, “The Chinese government and the World Health Organization — which is virtually controlled by China — falsely declared that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission. Later, they falsely said people without symptoms would not spread the disease.”
“The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions,” he declared.
He accused Beijing of allowing the coronavirus — which he called “China virus” — to spread.
“In the earliest days of the virus, China locked down travel domestically while allowing flights to leave China and infect the world. China condemned my travel ban on their country, even as they cancelled domestic flights and locked citizens in their homes.”
“75 yrs after end of World War II and the founding of United Nations, we’re once again engaged in a great global struggle. We have waged a fierce battle against the invisible enemy– the China virus, which has claimed countless lives in 188 countries,” he said.
Trump offered to share the anti-COVID-19 vaccines.
“We will distribute a vaccine, we will defeat the virus, we will end the pandemic, and we will enter a new era of unprecedented prosperity, cooperation, and peace,” he said.
Trump said his administration has “stood up to decades of China’s trade abuses”.
He attacked China on its environmental record contrasting that with that of his own country that is often under criticism.
Trump said, “China dumps millions and millions of tons of plastic and trash into the oceans, overfishes other countries’ waters, destroys vast swaths of coral reef, and emits more toxic mercury into the atmosphere than any country anywhere in the world. China’s carbon emissions are nearly twice what the US has, and it’s rising fast.”
Defending his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, he said US emissions have come down since he took the action.
Trump asserted that “American prosperity is the bedrock of freedom and security all over the world”.
In a campaign outreach to his domestic audience 42 days from the US elections, he said out of synch with the UN focus on disarmament, “Our military has increased substantially in size. We spent $2.5 trillion over the last four years on our military. We have the most powerful military anywhere in the world, and it’s not even close.”
China’s Permanent Representative Zhang Jun, before introducing the recorded speech of his country’s President Xi Jinping, hit back at Trump saying that a “political virus” must not be spread when there is a need for solidarity and cooperation.
He said, “China resolutely reject the baseless accusation against China.”
(Arul Louis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)