By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) – China said Friday it did not receive financial support from the U.S. for efforts to curb the coronavirus outbreak.
“US officials said they offered $100 million to China and other countries. We thank the American people for their kind help,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a tweet. “But as a matter of fact, we haven’t received $1 from the US government.”
Hua was referring to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement in February that Washington would spend up to $100 million to assist China and other countries affected by the outbreak.
She questioned if Washington paid what it owes to the World Health Organization (WHO). “By the way, has the US paid its dues to WHO?” she wrote.
The Foreign Ministry official also lashed out at Washington for maligning China’s response to the virus known as COVID-19.
“[U.S. Secretary of State Mike] #Pompeo said to Fox News ‘China has allowed hundreds of thousands of people to leave Wuhan to go to places like Italy that's now suffering so badly.’ Stop lying through your teeth! As WHO experts said, China's efforts averted hundreds of thousands of infection cases,” Hua said in another tweet.
It is the latest in a continuing war of words between U.S. and Chinese officials regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.
In recent weeks, Beijing urged American officials to stop stigmatizing China for the pandemic and even alluded to the possibility that the U.S. military may be responsible for the outbreak.
U.S. President Donald Trump drew Beijing’s ire with a tweet Monday where he, for the first time, explicitly referred to it as the “Chinese virus.”
A Chinese Foreign Ministry official shot back Tuesday, reminding the U.S. to “get its domestic issues handled” before stigmatizing China.
“We urge the U.S. to immediately correct its mistake and stop making unwarranted accusations on China,” said spokesperson Geng Shuag.
But Trump paid no heed to Beijing’s protest and used the incendiary term again in a tweet Tuesday and continued to do so at news conferences and other public engagements.
While the world’s two largest economies are engaged in a blame game, the COVID-19 crisis is escalating daily, with the death toll rising to more than 11,000.
According to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University, more than 272,000 cases have now been recorded worldwide since the virus emerged in Wuhan, China, last December.
Data shows that 88,000 patients have recovered.