United States President Donald Trump, on Tuesday, urged the United Nations General Assembly to hold China “accountable” for its actions over the coronavirus pandemic.
In a recorded message played to the annual meeting of the UN, Mr Trump accused China of allowing the coronavirus to “leave their country and infect the world,” AFP reports.
He said China concealed early evidence that showed that the deadly pathogen can be transmitted human-to-human and by asymptomatic people.
“In the earliest days of the virus, China locked down travel domestically while allowing flights to leave China and infect the world,” Mr Trump said.
“China condemned my travel ban on their country, even as they cancelled domestic flights and locked citizens in their homes.”
China hit back urging nations to reject any attempt to politicise the health crisis or stigmatise it, saying it is a fight for the world together.
This was not the first time that the U.S. president had attacked China for “unleashing” the virus to the world.
Critics said Mr Trump had often used such a narrative to fend off criticism of his own handling of the worst public health crisis the country has faced in 100 years, with the death toll crossing 200,000 on Tuesday.
This, analysts said, has cast a shadow over his re-election bid in November.
In recent months, tensions have soared between the U.S. and China with the pandemic compounding the economic hegemony between two countries.
Earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres kicked off the six-day General Debate, urging the world to prevent a Cold War between the two biggest economies in the world and halt conflicts so it can focus on the Covid-19 pandemic.
As the body marks its 75 years of foundation, the annual meeting of world leaders at the UN started on Tuesday with no presidents or prime ministers physically present in New York, because of the pandemic.