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Envoy rebuffs Trump's attack

By LIU YINMENG in Los Angeles | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-09-23 23:55
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The UN headquarter in NYC. [Photo/Agencies]

China firmly rejects and opposes the groundless accusations made against it by US President Donald Trump during the United Nations General Debate, China's ambassador to the UN said Tuesday.

"The US noise is incompatible with the general atmosphere of the General Assembly," said Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN.

"When the international community is going all out to fight COVID-19, the US is spreading political virus. When the international community needs solidarity and cooperation the most, the US is abusing the platform of the UN to provoke confrontation and create division.

"When the international community needs a strong UN, the United States is weakening the UN, the WHO (World Health Organization) and other UN bodies, and undermining the authority and effectiveness of the UN," he added.

The ambassador's rebuttal was made in response to Trump's attacks against China during a speech on the first day of the 75th General Assembly's General Debate, an annual event that convenes world leaders and dignitaries to discuss important global issues.

In a pre-recorded video that was broadcast in the General Assembly along with other global leaders' addresses, Trump criticized China in several areas, including the country's response during the early days of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

He then went on to attack the World Health Organization, claiming that it "falsely declared that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission".

Zhang said that over the past two days, Secretary-General António Guterres and General Assembly President Volkan Bozkır, along with "an overwhelming majority of countries", have all called for efforts to uphold multilateralism, strengthen solidarity and cooperation and jointly tackle global challenges.

"This is unequivocal rejection of unilateralism and bullying practices, which represents the consensus of the international community and the wish of people across the world," the envoy said.

China was the first victim of the coronavirus, Zhang said. The country has made great efforts and enormous sacrifice to bring the situation under control within a short period of time.

"China, with an open, transparent and responsible attitude, has been giving updates and sharing experience with the WHO and other countries from the very beginning and providing active assistance to many countries, including the US," Zhang said.

While other countries hit by COVID-19 around the same time as the US have effectively contained the viral contagion, the situation in the US remains unabated, the envoy noted, adding "the reason is a thought-provoking one".

With regard to environmental protection, Zhang said that China has fulfilled its obligation under the Basel Convention, an international treaty designed to reduce the movement of hazardous waste between nations.

"At the same time, as the world's largest exporter of solid waste and a major country of per capita plastic consumption, the US refuses to ratify the Basel Convention and has transferred a lot of waste to developing countries. It is clear who willfully disregards the global environment and the health of people around the world," he said.

The ambassador went on to underscore China's commitment to combating climate change, noting that China's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2018 were 45.8 percent lower than in 2005, meeting the emission-reduction target two years ahead of schedule.

"President Xi announced during his speech today that China aims to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, demonstrating China's strong resolve and commitment and setting a role model for others," Zhang added.

"In contrast, the US, as the country with the largest cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases in the world, hasn't ratified the Kyoto Protocol and has pulled out of the Paris Agreement. It has also dissociated itself from the global system and arrangement of carbon emissions (and) seriously hindered the global process of emission reduction and green development," he said.

Zhang said unilateralism runs against the common views and interests of the international community and described it as a "dead end and leading nowhere".

"The US provocation of confrontation at the UN for its own interests is unpopular and doomed to fail," Zhang said.

"For the United States, the most urgent task is to contain the virus, save lives and fix its own problems. Some US politicians' attempt of blame-shifting and scapegoating will not get back the time lost or solve any problem. It is time that they wake up from their self-created illusions and fictions," he added.

Jon Taylor, professor and chair of the department of political science and geography at the University of Texas at San Antonio, told China Daily that "it should come as no surprise to anyone that Trump would attack China in his UN speech".

"We are just 42 days from the US presidential election. He's behind in the polls and knows that China-bashing plays well with the American public and makes sense during a highly contentious election."

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