Beijing, February 7: Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on Friday with his US counterpart Donald Trump on the novel coronavirus outbreak and asked him to assess the epidemic in a “calm” manner, urging America to adopt and adjust its response measures in a “reasonable way” to China’s intensified efforts to contain the dreaded virus that has claimed over 630 lives.
Xi, in his first phone call with Trump since the coronavirus outbreak in December, told the US President that China had launched a “people’s war” against the epidemic that has been wreaking havoc in China and across the world.
People’s war is an ideological concept developed by the ruling Chinese Communist Party founder Mao Zedong which meant a prolonged struggle with the support of people while fighting for a particular cause.
Xi told Trump that the Chinese government and the people were making their maximum efforts to contain the outbreak.
“We have adopted the most comprehensive and strictest prevention and control measures through mobilising and rapid responses. We have declared a people’s war against the epidemic through prevention and control,” Xi was quoted as saying by state-run CCTV.
“We are fully confident and capable of fighting the epidemic. The long-term trend of China’s economic development will not change,” the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted the official television as reporting.
Xi asked the US side to respond reasonably to the novel coronavirus outbreak, state-run Xinhua news agency said in its report.
Noting that China’s prevention and control efforts are gradually yielding positive results, Xi stressed that Beijing had full confidence and capability to overcome the epidemic.
China hopes that the US will assess the epidemic in a “calm” manner, and adopt and adjust its response measures in a “reasonable way”, Xi said, adding that the two sides can maintain communication, strengthen coordination and work together to contain the epidemic.
The death toll in China’s novel coronavirus epidemic continues to mount. A total of 636 people have died so far, while the total number of confirmed cases has crossed 31,000, Chinese health officials said on Friday.
Ahead of Xi and Trump phone call, China has accused the US of creating global panic with travel bans and evacuation of diplomats besides flight cancellations.
“The US government has not provided any substantive help to the Chinese side yet. On the contrary, it was the first to withdraw its consulate staff from Wuhan, the first to suggest the partial withdrawal of embassy staff, the first to announce a ban on entry by Chinese citizens after the WHO made it clear that it doesn’t recommend or even opposes travel and trade restrictions against China,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told the media on February 3.
The two leaders also talked about the phase-one economic and trade agreement the two countries signed recently, and agreed to push forward the bilateral relations.
US President Trump launched a trade war with China in 2018, demanding that Beijing reduce massive trade deficit.
His demands included an intrusive verification mechanism to supervise Beijing’s promise to protect intellectual property rights (IPR) technology transfer and more access to American goods to Chinese markets.
The two countries signed phase one deal last month which reportedly contained provision for verification mechanism for IPR enforcement.
On Thursday, China sliced tariffs on USD 75 billion worth of US products which is in reciprocation for the Trump administration’s plan, announced last month, to halve tariffs on about USD 112 billion in Chinese goods, in view of the phase one deal.
Analysts say the tariff cuts scheduled to take effect on February 14 may be the latest sign that the trade war between the world’s two largest economies is easing. (AFP)