US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Donald Trump said on Wednesday that China’s coronavirus statistics seemed “somewhat sparse”, while the president’s national security adviser said Washington had no way of knowing whether the reports reported by Beijing were precise.
The comments came after a prominent Republican parliamentarian expressed doubts about the numbers of cases reported in mainland China and after Bloomberg reported a classified report from US intelligence services concluding that Chinese authorities had underreported the numbers of cases and deaths linked to the epidemic.
While the new coronavirus appeared in central China last December, Beijing said it has seen fewer infections and deaths than in the United States, where the pandemic has now caused 4,800 deaths and infected 214,000 people.
Speaking at a daily media briefing with members of his coronavirus task force, Donald Trump said he had received no reports of information on China’s statistics, but added that he found the numbers “a little light – and I’m nice to say that – compared to what we saw and what was reported”.
The US president said he had discussed China’s management of the health crisis last Friday by telephone with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, adding that they had “not so much” discussed the numbers.
“Regarding the precision or not of their numbers, I am not an accountant of China,” added Donald Trump, saying that the relationship between the United States and China was “very good” and that the two countries wanted to keep the large-scale trade agreement signed in January.
During the same press briefing, the White House national security adviser said he was “unable to confirm the numbers from China.”
“There are a lot of publications on whether the numbers are too low,” said Robert O’Brien. “You have access to reports posted on social networks in China (…) We simply have no way of confirming any figures”.
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