China says it has not received epidemic funding from U.S. government
China on Friday said it has not received epidemic funding from the U.S. government over a month after Washington pledged 100 million U.S. dollars to coronavirus-hit countries.
"I don't know about other countries. But I can clearly let you know, China has never received any type of financial aid and assistance from the U.S. government since the outbreak started," said Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On February 7, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the country would offer up to 100 million U.S. dollars to China and other impacted countries to combat the fast-spreading virus.
"This commitment – along with the hundreds of millions generously donated by the American private sector – demonstrates strong U.S. leadership in response to the outbreak," the U.S. official said in the statement, adding that the assistance would be sent either directly or through multilateral organizations.
Beijing said it doesn't need the money any more with the country's confirmed cases significantly dropping in recent days, and hoped Washington could keep its promise and give the money to those who might need it now.
Geng also expressed appreciation to U.S. companies, organizations and individuals that have offered generous help during China's hard times. "Many Chinese, in return, have extended their assistance, as the epidemic situation worsens in the U.S."
The novel coronavirus has infected over 200,000 people globally. As of Friday, the U.S. has recorded 13,100 cases with 176 deaths.
Timeline: China lists out key dates of COVID-19 info sharing to U.S.
Tensions between Beijing and Washington have risen drastically amid the new coronavirus pandemic. One flashpoint has been the origin of the deadly virus, with U.S. President Donald Trump and other White House officials referring to the new coronavirus as the"Chinese virus" despite widespread discrimination cases against Asians and those of Asian descent around the world.
U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien went even further, accusing the Chinese government of "covering up" the outbreak resulting in "delaying global response." Others have accused China of not "sharing important information."
In response on Thursday, Beijing spokesperson Geng Shuang listed the key dates of COVID-19 information-sharing China conducted with Washington, translated as follows:
Jan. 3: China starts to notify the U.S. on the latest epidemic situation in the country and the measures it is taking in combating the virus.
Jan. 4: Chinese and U.S. officials from the countries' epidemic control centers talk on the situation via phone calls.
Jan. 25: Trump tweets hailing China's efforts in containing the virus and says he "appreciates their (China's) efforts and transparency."
Jan. 27: Chinese and U.S. officials from national health departments talk on the situation via phone calls.
Jan. 29: China's National Health Commission welcomes U.S. experts to join the COVID-19 expert panel of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Feb. 7: Chinese and U.S. presidents talk on the situation via phone calls, in which the U.S. leader spoke highly of China's containment work in epidemic prevention.
Feb. 8: Chinese and U.S. officials from their health departments talk again regarding the schedule of China-WHO Joint Mission advance team on COVID-19.
Feb. 11: Chinese and U.S. officials from epidemic control centers talk on problems regarding widespread epidemic and possible prevention measures.