China mentioned on Wednesday that the US Health Secretary Alex Azar has performed the worst in the world for controlling the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak, rejecting the criticism of China made by Azar during a three-day trip to Taiwan this week.

Azar attacked the response to the deadly novel virus outbreak by China on Tuesday mentioning that if such an outbreak had emerged in Taiwan or the US it could have been tackled easily.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular briefing the epidemic in the United States was "out of control" and the blame lay with Azar. "He ignored millions of Americans suffering from the virus and went to Taiwan to put on a political show," Zhao said.

China Criticizes US Health Secretary

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"His behavior proves once again that in the eyes of U.S. politicians, American lives mean nothing when compared with their selfish political gains," he said. Azar was the highest-level U.S. official visit to Taiwan in four decades and it came after a sharp deterioration of relations between the United States and China over a range of issues including trade, Hong Kong, and the coronavirus.

The Trump administration has repeatedly criticized China for trying to cover up the coronavirus outbreak, first identified in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, and prevaricating on information sharing. China denies the accusations.

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping had soured over the outbreak and that they had not spoken in a long time. China condemned his trip. China considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has vowed to bring it under its rule, by force if necessary. Zhao said on Wednesday that Beijing condemns any official ties between the U.S. and self-governed Taiwan.

The United States has the highest number of coronavirus infections and deaths in the world and Trump has come under scathing attacks from critics at home for not taking what he calls the "China virus" seriously enough. China has reported 84,737 confirmed cases with 4,634 deaths. Taiwan has been praised by health experts for its early and effective steps to control the outbreak, with only 480 infections and seven deaths.

(With agency inputs)