China Hits Back at Donald Trump's Demand They Pay $10 Trillion for Causing Pandemic

China has dismissed demands for it to make reparations for the coronavirus pandemic after former President Donald Trump suggested the country should pay the United States and the rest of the world $10 trillion.

The president's on-off relationship with Beijing included early criticisms but also resulted in a "phase one" trade deal with the world's second-largest economy in 2020. However, bilateral relations plummeted shortly after, when he laid America's COVID-19 woes squarely at the feet of the Chinese government.

In a statement released on Thursday, June 3, Trump demanded that China compensate the world for causing the pandemic, which his administration had believed was more likely the result of a laboratory accident than a disease with natural origins.

"China should pay Ten Trillion Dollars to America, and the World, for the death and destruction they have caused!" he wrote.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responded Monday by accusing the former president of trying to divert attention away from his administration's own poor response to the outbreak in the U.S., which has claimed nearly 600,000 American lives to date.

He also suggested Trump's call for $10 trillion in recompense would not convince the American public.

"During Donald Trump's tenure as the president, the US reported 24 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 410,000 deaths," Wang told reporters at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

He added: "However, Trump has been turning a blind eye to facts and scapegoating China, in order to shift the responsibility of the botched response at home and divert people's attention."

"The American people have their fair judgment. Those who should be held accountable are hypocritical politicians who once held high positions but ignored people's lives and health," the official added.

In his statement, Trump was also critical of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who served as his public health adviser and continues to counsel the White House under President Joe Biden. In May, Biden ordered the U.S. intelligence community to reexamine evidence surrounding the origins of the coronavirus in order to determine whether it occurred naturally or escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.

"Now everyone, even the so-called 'enemy,' are beginning to say that President Trump was right about the China Virus coming from the Wuhan Lab," Trump wrote. "The correspondence between Dr. Fauci and China speaks too loudly for anyone to ignore."

He was referring to thousands of pages of Fauci's emails during the beginning acquired through the Freedom of Information Act by The Washington Post and Buzzfeed. They showed the doctor having maintained a cordial relationship with Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention d irector George Gao, but Trump alleged it showed something else.

"I always got along with him great, but he was wrong on so many fronts," the former president said Monday during an interview with Stuart Varney on Fox Business.

"If you look at his emails, they're really horrible. He was in the pocket, it would see... of China, the way he pandered to them and the way he dealt with them," Trump added.

In a recent interview with CNN, Fauci said he believed the virus was most likely transmitted from animal to human, but added: "I keep an absolutely open mind that if there may be other origins of that, there may be another reason. It could have been a lab leak."

The Biden White House has given the intelligence community and U.S. national laboratories 90 days to conclude their investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained during an Axios interview that the purpose was to help prevent the next pandemic.

"There's accountability, but from my perspective the most important thing, and the most important reason we have to get to the bottom of this is, that's the only way we're going to be able to prevent the next pandemic, or at least do a better job in mitigating it," he said on Sunday.

Blinken added: "What the government didn't do in the early days and still hasn't done is given us the transparency we need [...] access for inspectors and experts, the sharing of information in real time—that has to happen."

Donald Trump Speaks At Republican Convention
Former President Donald Trump exits the NCGOP state convention on June 5, 2021, in Greenville, North Carolina. The event is one of Trumps first high-profile public appearances since leaving the White House in January. Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images