China's Xi, speaking with Trump, calls on US to improve relations

China's Xi, speaking with Trump, calls on US to improve relations

FILE PHOTO: Trump meets Xi at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan
US President Donald Trump meets with China's President Xi Jinping at the start of their bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, Jun 29, 2019. (File photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping told US President Donald Trump during a phone call on Friday (Mar 27) that he hopes the United States will take substantive action to improve bilateral ties, China's foreign ministry said. 

Xi also told Trump that cooperation between their countries was the only correct choice and China was willing to support the United States in dealing with the coronavirus, according to an account of the conversation published by the Chinese ministry.

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country, with 84,946 infections and 1,259 deaths. Hospitals in cities like New York and New Orleans struggle to cope with the wave of patients.

READ: Trump calls for protection of Asian-Americans after coronavirus uproar

The call came amid a long-running war of words between Beijing and Washington over various issues including the coronavirus epidemic, which emerged in China late last year and has spread globally.

Trump and other top US officials have accused China of a lack of transparency on the virus, which has killed more than 24,000 globally, angering China.

Xi reiterated to Trump during the call that China had been open and transparent about the epidemic, which has infected more than 80,000 people in China.

Xi offered support to the United States, which now has more coronavirus infections than China.

Trump said on Twitter that he discussed the coronavirus outbreak "in great detail" with Xi.

He refrained from more combative words such as referring to the virus as a "Chinese virus", which he has been doing.

"China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the virus," Trump said. "We are working closely together. Much respect!"

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Source: AFP/aa

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