U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that China could have stopped the coronavirus before it swept the globe.
Trump added that his administration was conducting “serious investigations” into what happened.
Trump’s criticism was the latest from his administration to target China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which emerged late last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has grown into a global pandemic.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States “strongly believed” Beijing failed to report the outbreak in a timely manner and covered up how dangerous the respiratory illness caused by the virus was.
“We’re doing very serious investigations… We are not happy with China,”
“There are a lot of ways you can hold them accountable.
“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,” Trump said at a White House briefing.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing that some U.S. politicians were lying to deflect attention from their insufficient response to the virus at home.
However, Shuang did not specifically refer to Trump or Pompeo.
“Attempts to shift the blame on China will not denigrate China’s efforts in responding to the virus,” Geng said.
The coronavirus outbreak has killed more than 210,000 people around the world, including more than 56,000 in the United States, according to a Reuters tally.