Relations between the two economic superpowers have sunk to new lows in recent months, with Washington and Beijing sparring over who’s to blame for the coronavirus pandemic, and engaged in separate spats on the Hong Kong protests, technology theft and trade.
US President Donald Trump says he doesn’t know whether China and the US will be able to get along after Beijing gave America the “very bad gift” of the coronavirus.
“Getting along with China would be a good thing. I don’t know if that’s gonna happen. I think they want to get along very much with us,” Trump said, speaking to reporters in Washington on Friday, referring to the US-China trade deal signed earlier this year.
“I guess I view the trade deal a little bit differently than I did three months ago,” he noted. “The ink wasn’t dry on that deal when the plague floated in.”
Calling the coronavirus “a gift from China – a very bad gift,” the president suggested that questions should be asked why Beijing stopped COVID-19 from spreading in China but not other parts of the world.
“You do say, how come at Wuhan where it started, and they were very badly – they were in bad trouble, but it didn’t go to any other parts, it didn’t go to Beijing, it didn’t go to other parts of China. Then you say, how come it came out to Europe, to the world, to the United States. So it didn’t go to China – they stopped it cold, they knew it was a problem, but they didn’t stop it from coming to the United States, Europe and the rest of the world. Somebody has to ask these questions, and we’ll get down to the answer,” Trump said.
Commenting on the global US-China economic competition, Trump insisted that China’s economy would not be able to catch up to America’s, and that the US would soon “go back to having” “the greatest economy in the world” after recovering from the coronavirus pandemic and opening back up.
Already tense relations between the US and China over who’s to blame for the global coronavirus pandemic deteriorated further last week after the US attempted to bring the issue of Hong Kong’s autonomy before the United Nations Security Council. President Trump has threatened to sanction China and withdraw the US’s special trade status with Hong Kong over the issue. Beijing has demanded that Washington stay out of China’s internal affairs. On Wednesday, the US announced the suspension of Chinese commercial air services to the United States starting June 16.