President Donald Trump said the U.S. could bill China for damages related to the coronavirus pandemic. The news follows a German newspaper’s publishing of a mocked-up $160 billion bill for the impact shutdowns have had on Germany’s economy after COVID-19 spread from China to Europe.
Trump says U.S. could bill China for coronavirus
At a press conference at the White House on Monday, Trump threatened to send a bill to China for coronavirus-related damages. He made the statement after a reporter asked him if he was thinking about seeking monetary reparations from China for its pandemic response like the German newspaper suggested.
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Trump said he had a "much easier" idea than what the German newspaper did and said he would see much more than what the paper suggested. Trump also said that Washington could seek a "substantial" amount of money from China for damages related to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Germany's looking at things, and we're looking at things, and we're talking about a lot more money than Germany's talking about," he said during the press briefing, according to the Daily Mail.
The idea of billing China for economic damages from the coronavirus pandemic came from the German newspaper Bild. The paper published an invoice amounting to almost €150 billion, equating to roughly US$162 billion. The amount was based on how much economic damage the paper estimated was done to Germany's economy due to the pandemic-related shutdowns.
However, the German government does not endorse the notion of charging damages to China.
Investigation into China underway
Aside from sending a bill for the coronavirus, Trump also suggested that there are other ways to hold China accountable, like by enacting sanctions. He also said the U.S. is "doing very serious investigations" and that Washington is "not happy with China" or "that whole situation." He added that they believe the COVID-19 outbreak could have been stopped quickly at the source before it spread around the world.
Critics have blamed China for under-reporting its number of coronavirus cases from the very beginning and downplaying the threat. There continue to be signs that Beijing isn't being up front about the number of COVID-19 cases it has had, especially as the outbreak was worse in Europe and now in the U.S. U.S. officials also said they believe China failed to report the coronavirus outbreak in a timely fashion and covered up the danger of the respiratory virus in the early days of the outbreak.