China declines comment on spokesman’s claim of U.S. role in coronavirus outbreak

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Despite the lack of evidence, Zhao said the US had been "caught red-handed" for spreading the virus and owes China an explanation.

Days earlier, China's ambassador to South Africa also downplayed his country's role in the pandemic. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo referred to it as the "Wuhan coronavirus".

Zhao posted the clip on Twitter.

The Montreal-based website where the article appears, globalresearch.ca, is replete with conspiracy theories about the September 11 attacks on the United States.

"It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan", Zhao added, saying the USA should "be transparent" and "make public" all its data.

The World Health Organisation has, however, said that while the exact path the virus took between its animal source and humans is still unclear, COVID-19 was "unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019".

Geng, asked repeatedly about the comments by Zhao Lijian yesterday, said only that the worldwide community had different ideas about the origin of the virus that has infected more than 100,000 people globally.

A Chinese official has suggested that the U.S. army may have brought the deadly coronavirus into China, without providing any evidence to support his eyebrow-raising claim. Zhao tweeted in English in one of the series of tweets. He also asked the USA to be transparent and make the data on the number of cases and names of hospital public.

S.Korea's COVID-19 cases rise to 7,513, death toll at 54
The infection rate had slowed in recent days, raising hopes that South Korea might be bringing the virus under control. The virus infection soared for the past 20 days, with 7,482 new cases reported from February 19 to March 9.

Zhao doubled-down on Friday, tweeting an article that he said showed "further evidence that the virus originated in the US".

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian during his first regular press briefing at the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

More than 130,000 people have been infected by the virus and almost 5,000 have died across the world so far.

"Although the epidemic first broke out in China, it did not necessarily mean that the virus originated from China, let alone 'made in China, '" he tweeted.

"This virus did not originate in the United States, it originated in Wuhan and Hubei Province in China". Despite the protests, US President Donald Trump started a televised address to his nation on Wednesday by speaking about the outbreak "that started in China".

White House National Security Robert O'Brien, at a speech at the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday, called out the Chinese for mishandling the virus outbreak.

The language is "part of his dog-whistling politics", said Australian National University researcher Yun Jiang. "It probably cost the world community two months to respond".

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