‘We could cut off the whole relationship’ Trump warns China over coronavirus handling
US President Donald Trump said Thursday he does not wish to speak “right now” to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, declaring himself “very disappointed” by the country’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I have a very good relationship, but I just -- right now I don’t want to speak to him,” Trump told Fox Business.
Asked how the US might choose to retaliate, Trump gave no specifics but struck a threatening tone, warning: “There are many things we could do. We could do things. We could cut off the whole relationship.”
Trump said on April 18 that China should face consequences, he did not specify, if it was "knowingly responsible" for the coronavirus pandemic.
"If it was a mistake, a mistake is a mistake. But if they were knowingly responsible, yeah, I mean, then sure there should be consequences," Trump during the daily coronavirus status briefing.
Trump and senior aides have sharply criticized China for a lack of transparency after the coronavirus broke out in its Wuhan province. This week he suspended aid to the World Health Organization accusing it of being "China-centric."
Washington and Beijing, the world's two biggest economies, have publicly sparred over the virus repeatedly.
Trump said the US-China relationship was good "until they did this," citing a recent first-phase agricultural deal aimed at quelling a trade war between the two countries.
He said the question now was whether what happened with the coronavirus was "a mistake that got out of control, or was it done deliberately?"
"There's a big difference between those two," he said.