US President Donald Trump once again lashed out at China over the coronavirus pandemic, hinting he might seek reparations from the Asian giant.
Ever since the US became the new epicentre of the virus, Trump has unleashed scathing attacks on China where the Covid-19 is reported to have originated. Apart from Twitter, Trump uses his daily White House press briefings to hit out at China for its alleged lack of transparency and initial cover-up of the outbreak.
At his daily briefing on Monday, Trump was told that even as the US blames China for the spread of the coronavirus, the Chinese are taking advantage of the crisis to make the world more dependent on their supply chains. "How do you hold China accountable?" To this, Trump replied: "There are a lot of ways...we're doing very serious investigation. We're not happy with China. We're not happy with that whole situation because we believe it could have been stopped at the source. It could have been stopped quickly and it wouldn't have spread all over the world."
China has been criticized not only by the US, but by other countries as well, for allegedly muzzling information during initial stages of the outbreak. On Monday, China threatened economic consequences against Australia which has called for an independent investigation into China's initial handling [or mishandling] of the disease, The Hill reported.
US might seek damages from China: Trump
Trump was then asked about a recent German newspaper editorial which called on China to pay Germany $165 billion in reparations due to economic damage caused by coronavirus. Asked if he too would make such a demand, Trump answered in the affirmative.
"We can do something much easier than that. Germany is looking at things, we are looking at things and we are talking about a lot more money than Germany's talking about. We haven't determined the final amount yet. It's very substantial. This is worldwide damage. This is damage to the US, but this is damage to the world."
Julian Reichelt, the editor-in-chief of Germany's largest paper Bild, wrote: "You [Xi], your government and your scientists had known long ago that coronavirus is highly infectious, but you left the world in the dark about it." He called out China for reportedly not letting Western researchers into Wuhan, as "you were too proud and too nationalistic to tell the truth, which you felt was a national disgrace".
He slammed China for its alleged lack of transparency, accusing President Xi of ruling by surveillance. "You wouldn't be president without surveillance," he wrote. You monitor everything, every citizen, but you refuse to monitor the diseased wet markets in your country. You shut down every newspaper and website that is critical of your rule, but not the stalls where bat soup is sold. You are not only monitoring your people, you are endangering them â and with them, the rest of the world."
Since the outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, the novel coronavirus has infected over three million people around the world, killing 211,606, according to tally by worldometer.