US President Donald Trump said he may seek damages from China over the virus outbreak, which began in Wuhan City and has now infected more than 3 million people worldwide.
“We are not happy with China,” Trump said at a White House briefing Monday. “We are 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,” Trump said, saying there were many options to “hold them accountable.”
Trump was asked if the US would also seek damages from China like Germany. Germany is asking China to pay $165 billion in reparations due to economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We can do something much easier than that,” Trump answered.
“Germany is looking at things, we are looking at things,” he said. “We haven’t determined the final amount yet,” he said.
Trump’s remark garnered a furious response from China.
A foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing on Tuesday accused US politicians of “telling barefaced lies.” He, however, did not drop Trump’s name.
“American politicians have repeatedly ignored the truth and have been telling barefaced lies,” Geng Shuang told reporters at a regular press briefing.
“They have only one objective: shirk their responsibility for their own poor epidemic prevention and control measures, and divert public attention.”
Geng said US politicians should “reflect on their own problems and find ways to contain the outbreak as quickly as possible.”
Also read: Virus epicenter Wuhan ends lockdown
US investigates whether coronavirus came from Wuhan lab
Trump earlier said US government is trying to find out whether the pandemic coronavirus came from a lab in Wuhan, China.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meanwhile said Beijing “needs to come clean” on what they know.
General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Tuesday that US intelligence shows COVID-19 likely created naturally, as opposed to the theory that a laboratory in China made it. However, the source of the deadly virus is still a mystery.
Fox News reported that the virus originated in a Wuhan laboratory but not as a bioweapon but as part of China’s effort to show the world that it has an equal or more exceptional capability than the United States in terms of identifying and fighting viruses.
This may be the “costliest government coverup of all time,” one of the sources said.
The sources believe the initial transmission of the virus was bat-to-human, and that “patient zero” worked at the laboratory, then went into the population in Wuhan.