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Video: Trump slams China at UN: ‘Must hold China accountable for unleashing plague’

President Donald Trump's prerecorded speech for the 2020 United National General Assembly. (U.S. Department of State/Released)
September 22, 2020

In a speech to the annual United Nations General Assembly, President Donald Trump slammed China for unleashing the coronavirus upon the world, and demanded the UN hold them accountable.

“We must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world – China,” Trump said.

“In the earliest days of the virus, China locked down travel domestically while allowing flights to leave China and infect the world,” Trump 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,” Trump continued. “The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions.”

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Trump pointed out China’s mishandling of the virus included hypocrisy. “China condemned my travel ban on their country, even as they canceled flights and locked citizens in their homes,” he said.

U.S. coronavirus deaths have risen to just under 200,000, with more than 6.8 million reported cases since the pandemic began, according to tracking data from Johns Hopkins University.

The president also took aim at China over its pollution, criticizing its “millions and millions of tons of plastic” dumped into the oceans, overfishing, and destructions of coral reefs, significant carbon emissions, and other environmental detriments.

“Those who attack America’s exceptional environmental record while ignoring China’s rampant pollution are not interested in the environment, they only want to punish America, and I will not stand for it,” Trump said.

Trump called on the UN to focus on the “real problems of the world,” including terrorism, oppression against women, forced labor, drug trafficking, human and sex trafficking, religious persecution and ethnic cleansing.

Watch the president’s full seven-minute speech below:

The Trump administration has taken several actions against China this year, including sanctions against top Chinese officials over human rights abuses committed against Muslim minorities, and ending special relationship privileges with Hong Kong due to its Chinese government takeover.

In his own UN speech on Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping took a subtle jab at the U.S. and said that one country shouldn’t “be allowed to do whatever it likes and be the hegemon, bully, or boss of the world.”

“[The UN] must not be lorded over by those who wave a strong fist at others,” Xi said. “There must be no practice of exceptionalism or double standards. Nor should international law be distorted and used as a pretext to undermine other countries’ legitimate rights and interests or world peace and stability.