The United States has announced suspension of all flights by Chinese airlines into and out of the country starting June 16, news agency AFP quoted US Transportation Department as saying on Wednesday.
The announcement comes in wake of escalating bilateral tensions over the coronavirus pandemic, trade issues and Beijing’s new controversial security law in Hong Kong.
On May 30, US President Donald Trump said the US is “very saddened” by what happened to its relationship with China and blamed the Chinese government’s “malfeasance” for the death and devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.
He also announced a series of decisions including issuing a proclamation to deny the entry to certain Chinese nationals and tightening of regulations against Chinese investments in America.
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Trump also terminated the US’ relationship with the World Health Organisation, accusing the UN’s health body of misguiding the world on the coronavirus and siding with China on this issue.
Trump said that China contained the virus within its own territory but did not stop it from spreading around the world.
“We are certainly not happy with what happened with respect to China. They have a virus that started and when it got out of control, perhaps, I assume that’s what happened, it got out of control, whichever way and they stopped it from going to China, but they didn’t stop it from going to the rest of the world. So nobody likes that. That was not good,” Trump said.
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“Countless lives have been taken and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe,” he added.
Led by the US, several countries in the world have blamed China for the spread of coronavirus and its failure to provide timely information about the disease, leading to the death of over three lakh people and causing an unprecedented economic crisis.
Trump has been pressing China to agree for an inquiry into the origin of the virus, including the allegation that it emerged from a bio-lab in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Incidentally, the annoncement of suspending Chinese flights comes a day after Trump spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed various issues, including the situation on the India-China border, the COVID-19 pandemic and need for reforms in the WHO.
Trump on Wednesday offered to “mediate or arbitrate” the raging border dispute between India and China, saying he was “ready, willing and able” to ease the tensions, amid the continuing standoff between the armies of the two Asian giants.
Reacting to Trump’s offer to mediate between the two countries to settle the festering dispute, India had said that it was engaged with China to resolve the border issue.