Diplomacy

Don’t Stigmatise China: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to India's Jaishankar

The spokespersons of the US state department and Chinese foreign ministry have been locked in a war of words on Twitter, as the US blamed Beijing for covering up the start of the outbreak.

New Delhi: While Washington and Beijing have a diplomatic spat, Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi told his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar that stigmatising China for the coronavirus outbreak would be detrimental to international cooperation.

In the last few days, the spokespersons of the US state department and Chinese foreign ministry have been locked in a war of words on Twitter, as the US blamed Beijing for covering up the start of the outbreak, while the latter highlighted the successful attempt to control the pandemic in the last month.

The diplomatic spat had begun after Chinese foreign office spokesperson Zhao Lijian had posted about a conspiracy theory that the US military may have developed the virus last month.

Besides this, US President Donald Trump and the White House had been referring to coronavirus as the “Chinese virus”, which further infuriated Beijing.

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The Chinese ambassador to India, Sun Weidong, tweeted that foreign minister Wang hoped that India opposed the “narrow mindset” of using the term Chinese virus.

“Wang Yi said it’s not acceptable and detrimental to international cooperation to label the virus and stigmatise China, hope India oppose such narrow mindset,” tweeted Sun.

He also claimed that the Indian external affairs minister Jaishankar “agreed not to label the virus and the international community should send strong signal of solidarity”.

The Indian minister, however, gave an anodyne version of the phone conversation in a single tweet. There was no reference on Wang’s mention of avoiding stigmatising China. However, Jaishankar asserted, “Global challenges require global cooperation.”

On Monday, Chinese ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai told Axios that it would be “crazy” to spread rumours about the coronavirus originating from a military laboratory in the US.

Following this, state department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus welcomed Cui’s remarks that seemingly distanced China from Zhao’s statement.

Meanwhile, the Indian minister also did not mention about Wang’s offer to provide assistance and procure items.

“China is ready to share our experience, provide assistance within our capacity and open its channel for procurement to India,” tweeted the Chinese ambassador.