China urged the United States to focus on its domestic fight against deadly coronavirus Tuesday as it alleged Washington continues to violate its sovereignty.
“While China is helping others in our fight against the pandemic, the U.S. is sending aircraft and vessels frequently to the South China Sea, violating China’s sovereignty,” the country’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a news conference in Beijing.
China regards the entire South China Sea as its own and that has triggered tensions in the region. Taiwan, which China calls a “breakaway province,” has developed defense relations with Washington that has intensified tensions.
“We urge the U.S. to put the priority on the outbreak response at home,” Zhao said in a tweet.
With nearly 370,000 cases, the U.S. has the most diagnosed coronavirus infections in the world and its death toll neared the 11,000 mark. Recoveries approach 20,000.
Zhao also said China sent 1,000 ventilators on March 4 to New York.
“We have strengthened cooperation against the outbreak as our two presidents agreed in their recent phone talk,” he added.
After originating in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions across the world, with its epicenter shifting to Europe, while China has largely come out of the crisis.
The virus infected over 1.36 million worldwide, while more than 292,400 recovered from the disease, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. More than 76,400 have died.
Despite the rising number of cases, most people who become infected suffer mild symptoms and make a recovery.