"The world is on the brink of a cold war"
China and the United States are on the brink of a "new cold war," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warnedSource: Beta
He expressed regret over renewed tensions with Washington over the coronavirus epidemic.
The first cases of the new coronavirus were reported at the end of last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and since then the virus has spread to the entire planet and about 340.000 people have died from it.
In recent weeks, US President Donald Trump has regularly accused the Chinese authorities of being late in transmitting crucial data on the seriousness of the virus, the spread of which, according to him, could have been stopped.
Wang Yi said the United States had been infected by a "political virus" compelling figures there to continually attack China. "Aside from the devastation caused by the novel coronavirus, there is also a political virus spreading through the US," he said.
"This political virus is the use of every opportunity to attack and smear China. Some politicians completely disregard basic facts and have fabricated too many lies targeting China, and plotted too many conspiracies", China's Foreign Affairs Minister concluded.
Longstanding friction between the two powers over trade, human rights and a range of other issues have been pushed to new heights since the virus outbreak.
"It has come to our attention that some political forces in the US are taking China-US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new Cold War," Wang told reporters during a press conference at China's week-long annual parliamentary session.
He said China was "open" to international cooperation to identify the source of the novel coronavirus, but stressed that any investigation must be "free of political interference".
On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said he supported a "comprehensive assessment" of the world's response to the novel coronavirus when the epidemic is eradicated. In a video message sent to the Annual Assembly of the World Health Organization, Xi Jinping rejected any failure of his country in managing the epidemic, giving assurances that China has always been transparent and responsible on that issue.