China to share coronavirus data with US, says Trump

Xi assured full support to Trump in fighting COVID-19 as the US emerged as the next epicentre of the pandemic

Xi, Trump
US president Donald Trump with Chinese president Xi Jinping. Photo: Twitter

China will share its data related to the novel coronavirus pandemic with the US and the country will learn from Beijing’s experience, President Donald Trump has said, a day after he held an hour-long conversation with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Trump spoke to Xi over telephone, days after the US president angered Beijing by referring to the coronavirus as “Chinese virus” and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China’s ruling Communist Party posed a “substantial threat” to Americans’ health and their way of life.

Xi assured full support to Trump in fighting the coronavirus as America emerged as the next major epicentre of the pandemic, but underlined that infectious diseases did not recognise any border or race.

“We talked about it (coronavirus) because he had additional experience of having been much earlier. And he has developed some incredible theories, and all that information is coming over here. A lot of it’s already come. We call it data. And were going to learn a lot from what the Chinese went through,” Trump told reporters on Friday.

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Trump said he had nearly an hour-long meeting with Xi, which mostly focused on fast spreading coronavirus pandemic.

“One of the things I was asking him is when did you notice that this was happening. We talked about the whole concept, how it happened, when it happened, what was the most effective use. I mean, was it the fact was distance the best thing. We talked about everything,” he said.

Trump said that his Chinese counterpart had developed his own viewpoint on the escalating COVID-19 crisis.

“It happened there actually long before it happen here. By the way, it would have happened here a lot sooner had we not kept those people out, the Chinese people coming over to the country, had we not kept amount,” he said.

“Our relationship with China is very good. We also talked about the trade agreement. But I must tell you this whole invisible enemy has taken over the world. Nobody cares about trade. Nobody cares about anything. You want to talk about trade, they immediately get back to this (coronavirus),” he said.

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According to a White House readout of the call, both leaders reiterated their commitment to cooperate to protect lives and livelihoods.

“The two leaders agreed to work together to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and restore global health and prosperity,” the White House said.

Earlier in the day, Trump referring to his phone call with Xi said that they have had a very tough experience.

“And theyre doing well and he’s doing well. President Xi is doing very well. We learned a lot and we have great communication together,” he said.

“Were going to be sent great data from China – things that happened that they see that – you know, theyve had an early experience, and were getting all of that information. Much of it has already been sent. It was sent yesterday and sent to our scientists to study,” Trump said.

Meanwhile, the US State Department told reporters that China continued with its negative campaign against the US.

“On China, over the course of the crisis weve monitored a couple of narrative tracks. One is malign disinformation to falsely blame the US as the origin of the coronavirus and the second has been China’s effort to turn the crisis into a news story highlighting supremacy of the Chinese Communist Party in handling the health crisis,” said Special Envoy Lea Gabrielle, Global Engagement Center On Disinformation and Propaganda.

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“What weve seen is the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) mobilizing its global messaging apparatus, which includes state media as well as Chinese diplomats, to push out selected and localized versions of the same overarching false narratives,” she said.

Of late, there has been initial indications of messaging refinement away from disinformation by Chinese officials on social media, she noted.

China has focused on four prominent narratives. One was China’s successful containment of the virus. A second was calls for international collaboration. Third was the World Health Organization’s praise of China. And fourth was China’s economic resilience. Anti-US tweets comprised a small subset, about .88 per cent of the sample.

This “actually performed poorly as African audiences essentially rejected the claims that coronavirus had originated in the US, and that they also were rejecting claims that the term, quote, “Chinese virus” was a racist reference. They were rejecting that claim. So interestingly, we see that move away that I mentioned of messaging on disinformation, and rather, a refocus on praising China’s actions,” Gabrielle said.

According to John’s Hopkins University data, 27,333 people have died due to the disease across over 170 coutries. Italy has the highest number of deaths at 9,134, followed by Spain 5,138 and China 3,174.

The United States leads in the number of COVID-19 with 104,007 infections confirmed so far, followed by Italy (86,498) and China (81,906).

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