China and the United States should “unite to fight” the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the globe, said President Xi Jinping in a call with his US counterpart on Friday, according to state media.
The two countries have clashed in recent weeks over the virus, but Xi told President Donald Trump that China “wishes to continue sharing all information and experience with the US,” said state broadcaster CCTV.
The two leaders appeared to strike a conciliatory tone after Donald Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo angered Beijing this month by repeatedly referring to “the Chinese virus” when discussing the COVID-19 outbreak first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Earlier this month a foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing suggested in a tweet that the US military brought the virus to Wuhan.
However, Xi and his US counterpart Donald Trump spoke by phone on Friday in an attempt to ease tensions following weeks of finger pointing over the pandemic.
Xi told Trump that China had been transparent and responsible in its release of information, including the gene sequence of the coronavirus, since the start of the outbreak, and had provided assistance to other nations, the SCMP report quoted China’s state broadcaster CCTV as saying.
The call comes in the wake of a grim milestone where the US has surpassed China, where the virus originated last December, in terms of confirmed cases.
According to the latest updates by the John Hopkins University, the US has a total of 85,505 cases, while China has 81,782. The overall death toll in the US and China currently stands at 1,290 and 3,291, respectively.
In the call, Xi said: “The virus knows no boundaries and ethnicity, and it is our common enemy. The international community can only defeat it through working together.
“The relationship of China and the US is at a critical juncture. Cooperation is mutually beneficial to both nations, while fighting will hurt. Cooperation is the only correct choice.
“It is hoped that the US will take concrete actions to improve China-US relations, and the two sides will work together to strengthen cooperation in areas such as epidemic control.”
Xi said he was concerned about the outbreak in the US and health officials from two sides were in constant communication.
“China is willing to continue to share information and experience with the US without reservation,” he said.
Following the conversation, Trump took to Twitter where he said: “Just finished a very good conversation with President Xi of China. Discussed in great detail the coronavirus that is ravaging large parts of our planet.
“China has been through much and has developed a strong understanding of the virus. We are working closely together. Much respect.”
(With agency inputs)