Amid the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and tensions between the United States and China, world leaders came together, virtually on Tuesday, 22 September to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
Trump Lashes Out at China Over the Pandemic
US President Donald Trump lashed out at China on Tuesday, 23 September, demanding that the United Nations should hold Beijing responsible for the consequences of unleashing the plague of COVID-19 on the world, reported IANS.
Speaking at the General Assembly's high-level meeting in a pre-recorded address, he said, “the Chinese government and the World Health Organization, which is virtually controlled by China – falsely declared that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission. Later, they falsely said people without symptoms would not spread the disease.”
“The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions,” Trump declared.
He accused Beijing of allowing the coronavirus, which he called “China virus”, to spread.
“In the earliest days of the virus, China locked down travel domestically while allowing flights to leave China and infect the world. China condemned my travel ban on their country, even as they cancelled domestic flights and locked citizens in their homes.”Donald Trump, US President
Trump also attacked China on its environmental record contrasting with that of his own country which is often under criticism.
He said, “China dumps millions and millions of tons of plastic and trash into the oceans, overfishes other countries’ waters, destroys vast swaths of coral reef, and emits more toxic mercury into the atmosphere than any country anywhere in the world. China’s carbon emissions are nearly twice what the US has, and it’s rising fast.”
China Says Trump Spreading ‘Political Virus’
Meanwhile, in a sharp response, China's Permanent Representative Zhang Jun, before introducing the recorded speech of his country's President Xi Jinping, hit back at Trump saying that a “political virus” must not be spread when there is a need for solidarity and cooperation, reported news agency IANS.
He said, “China resolutely reject the baseless accusation against China.”
Hitting out at Trump, China's President Xi Jinping in a video message said that China has “no intention to fight either a cold war or a hot one with any country,” CBS News reported.
Jinping added, “burying one's head in the sand like an ostrich in the face of economic globalization or trying to fight it with Don Quixote's lance goes against the trend of history.”
“No country has the right to dominate global affairs, control the destiny of others, or keep advantages in development all to itself. Even less should one be allowed to do whatever it likes and be the hegemon, bully or boss of the world. Unilateralism is a dead end.”Xi Jinping, China President
‘Russia’s Vaccine is Reliable, Safe And Effective’: Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called for the removal of barriers for cooperation between countries in the field of medicine.
“As to healthcare, just like in economy, we now need to remove, as many as possible, obstacles to partner relations," Putin said at the general debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Russia has been actively contributing to global and regional efforts to counter Covid-19, providing assistance to most affected states both bilaterally and within multilateral formats, the President Putin said.
Putin also said that Russia’s vaccine is “reliable, safe and effective,” reported The Guardian.
“In doing so, we first of all take into account the central coordinating role of the World Health Organization (WHO), which is part of the UN system. We believe it essential to qualitatively strengthen the capability of WHO,” Putin said.
Putin further added that "this work has already begun, and Russia is genuinely motivated to engage in it.”
Putin recalled that during the pandemic, doctors, volunteers and citizens of various countries have been showing examples of mutual assistance and support, and such solidarity defies borders. Many countries have also been helping each other selflessly and open-heartedly, he said.
Putin reiterated that Russia is completely open to partner relations and willing to cooperate.
“In this context, we are proposing to hold an online high-level conference shortly for countries interested in cooperation in the development of anti-coronavirus vaccines,” he stated.
(With inputs from IANS, CBS News and The Guardian)