President Donald Trump said at a briefing Thursday that he might refer to the coronavirus as “Chinese virus” if it bothered the Chinese community, Fox News informed.
Although he said he would consider abandoning the term, he did not say that there was anything wrong with it.
Trump started calling COVID-19 “Chinese Virus” soon after rumors started spreading among Chinese officials that the coronavirus originated in the U.S. Army, and he dismissed objections of the media that the term might be “racist”. However he stated that if China proceeds with the protests over this name he would stop using it.
“If you look at Ebola, right, if you look at Lyme in Connecticut, you look at all these different horrible diseases, they seem to come with a name with a location,” he said. “I don’t have to say it if they feel so strongly about it, we’ll see.”
On Wednesday, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Twitter the world “explicitly opposes linking #COVID19 with any specific country or region. It is not the time to blame one another with terms like ‘Chinese Virus’.”
Zhao said it was the U.S. that started the argument over the origins of the virus. “Shouting ‘Chinese virus’ or ‘Wuhan virus’ will not help with their own or international efforts against #COVID19. U.S. should keep their own house in order, & contribute to global fight against the virus,” Zhao added.
But on March 12, Zhao had touted the U.S. Army conspiracy.
“It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!” he tweeted.