The US has summoned Beijing’s ambassador to the US over comments recently made by a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, who suggested that the American military was responsible for the coronavirus outbreak in China, Reuters reported, citing an anonymous State Department official.
In a series of Twitter posts, Zhao Lijian, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, suggested that the US Army could have brought the coronavirus to the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province – the epicentre of the pandemic. The spokesman referred to a video with US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield in which he admits that some of the American patients who appeared to have died from influenza later showed positive results for the coronavirus.
2/2 CDC was caught on the spot. When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation! pic.twitter.com/vYNZRFPWo3— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) March 12, 2020
When asked by journalists whether Zhao Lijian's comments represented Beijing’s official position on the matter, another Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, didn't give a definitive answer. Instead, he stated that different opinions exist within the international community regarding where the COVID-19 came from.
The novel coronavirus was first detected in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province in late December and has since infected over 125,048 people worldwide, 80,981 of them in China, and led to a lethal outcome in at least 4,613 cases so far. Beijing recently stated that the peak of the epidemic is over in China, with only individual cases recently having been registered. At the same time, the virus outbreak is raging on in Italy, France, Spain, and Iran.