- Title: China sidesteps spokesman's claim of U.S. role in coronavirus outbreak
- Date: 13th March 2020
- Summary: BEIJING, CHINA (MARCH 13, 2020) (REUTERS) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN GENG SHUANG ARRIVING FOR REGULAR NEWS CONFERENCE JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN GENG SHUANG, SAYING: "In fact, the international community, including people within the U.S., have different opinions about the origin of the virus. As I have been saying for a few days, China has always seen this as a matter of science, and scientific and professional opinions must be heard." JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN GENG SHUANG, SAYING: "You're very interested to know if Zhao Lijian's views represent the views of the Chinese government. I believe that perhaps you would be better off first asking whether or not recent comments from a number of senior U.S. officials attacking or smearing China represent the U.S. government's position." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS EXTERIOR OF FOREIGN MINISTRY CHINESE FLAG FLYING
- Keywords: Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Coronavirus Sino-US relations Trump Twitter US military Wuhan Zhao Lijian epidemic outbreak virus
- Reuters ID: LVA001C4VVE4N
- Location: BEIJING, CHINA
- City: BEIJING, CHINA
- Country: China
- Duration: 00:01:07
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Story Text: Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang sidestepped questions on Friday (March 13) about whether Beijing blames the United States for spreading the coronavirus, a day after another spokesman suggested the U.S. army could have planted it.
"The international community, including the U.S., have different opinions about the origin of the virus," said Geng during a regular news conference in Beijing.
Geng did not directly comment when asked whether his colleague Zhao Lijian's comments were consistent with Beijing's official views on the virus.
On Thursday (March 12), Zhao tweeted in English and Chinese: "When did patient zero begin in U.S.? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be U.S. army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! U.S. owe us an explanation!"
Zhao accompanied his post with a video of Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying that some U.S. citizens who had seemingly died from influenza later tested positive for the new coronavirus.
Twitter is blocked in China, though Chinese diplomats including Zhao, have taken to the platform with increasing gusto, tweeting in English aiming at a foreign audience.
(Production: Martin Pollard, Wang Shubing)
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