US and China still working to carry out trade deal, says ambassador

14-Apr-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

China’s ambassador to Washington has said the two countries were still working to carry out their trade deal despite the recent strains in their relationship prompted by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Cui Tiankai also called for China and the US to join hands in combating the pandemic and reject attempts to politicise the deadly outbreak.

“As far as I know, we’re still doing our part of the deal,” Cui told the PBS show GZERO World in an interview filmed on April 3 and broadcast on Saturday.

Cui said China is still purchasing some agricultural products from the United States and removing some of the restrictions on foreign companies in its financial markets. He also said the two sides’ economic teams should assess the current economic situation and plan further steps.

“We are still doing all these things. But of course as you said, the global economic landscape has been drastically changed. So I just hope our two economic teams, if they can sit down together or just have a conference call, they can really make a good assessment of the changing realities and coordinate our response to that.”

The Covid-19 outbreak, which started in China and has now spread across the world, has further strained the already tense relations between the world’s two largest economies.

It has also created uncertainty about whether they can reach the goals set in their phase one trade deal and scheduling further negotiations.

Cui said the two countries should continue to work together on their coronavirus response and not seek a “political advantage” from the pandemic.

“We really have to reject any attempt at taking political advantage of other people’s sufferings. Unfortunately, there are still elements here, maybe elsewhere in the world, who are making such an attempt,” said Cui.

Officials and politicians from both capitals have traded accusations over the origin of the coronavirus that causes the disease as well as how the two governments have handled the outbreak.

US President Donald Trump has called the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” and Republican senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas has floated the conspiracy theory that the Chinese government created Covid-19 in a bioweapons laboratory.

A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry has also promoted a similar claim that the virus had been spread in Wuhan, the original centre of the outbreak, by the US military.

Cui said he was working to prevent the two sides’ relationship deteriorating further, but added: “What is surprising to me is how low people could go here sometimes, for some of the politicians, how low they could go. It was really surprising to me.”

The US has now overtaken China and Italy as having the most confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide. Over 520,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and more than 20,000 people have died from it in the United States.

Cui said the two countries continued to work together to combat the disease.

“Whether it’s about medical supplies, or about technical cooperation between the CDCs [centres for disease control], research institutions, we in the embassy are doing our best to facilitate such communication and coordination between us,” he said. out-110229800.html


Category: China

Print This Post

Comments are closed.