President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping had a “very good conversation” over the phone on Thursday evening, Trump said, to deal with the fast-moving coronavirus pandemic – with cases in the United States that are now surpassing China and the rest of the United States.
The call comes amid growing tensions between the two powers, with Washington and Beijing pointing the finger at each country’s outbreak and handling. Trump said Fox News Host Sean Hannity on Thursday night that he had postponed the call to Xi by an hour and a half to call the “No. 1 rated show on TV” first.
The Trump administration has repeatedly drawn attention to the Chinese origin of the virus, while China has praised its own efforts to contain the disease and buy the rest of the world.
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After the call, Trump struck a conciliatory tone.
“China has gone through a lot and developed a strong understanding of the virus,” Trump said tweeted.
Trump previously referred to the disease as the “Chinese virus”, while members of his government, including Foreign Minister Pompeo, called it the “Wuhan virus”, which angered Chinese officials.
Trump seemed to be pulling out of office this week, asking after Thursday’s language change that the virus was from China, but “I don’t have to say if they feel so strong about it.”
NBC News reported Wednesday that the Trump administration urged the United States Security Council to recognize the Chinese origins of the corona virus in a joint statement, which angered Chinese diplomats and caused a standoff within the global body.
According to China’s state-run news agency Xinhua, Xi stressed that the disease was a common enemy of humanity, ignoring national borders and races, and calling on the international community to work together to fight the virus.
China has responded transparently and in good time to the new coronavirus epidemic and exchanged scientific information, including the release of viral gene sequences.
According to the country’s foreign ministry, China introduced stricter travel restrictions this weekend to stop international flights and hold entry for many foreigners.
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Xi also noted in the call that China-US relations were at an important point, according to Xinhua, and that China would work with the US to share scientific research, medical care, and stabilization in global markets.
The call comes after a rocky year in relations between the world’s two largest economies, which reached a trade deal earlier this year after months of conflict.
China followed suit earlier this month to evict About a dozen American journalists from the country, in retaliation for Washington, have forced Chinese state-owned media companies to register as “overseas missions” in the United States and cut staff by 40 percent.
The number of coronavirus infections worldwide reached half a million on Thursday and the number of deaths rose to over 23,000, according to NBC News. World leaders are coming together to curb their impact and prepare for a new initiative in the coming days, the French President said Length signwho also spoke to Trump on Thursday.
Phil Helsel contributed.