April 20 (UPI) -- China is a victim of the global coronavirus pandemic and not the principal enemy of the United States, Beijing's foreign ministry said Monday.
Spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing China is not to be blamed for the catastrophic outbreak that has killed more than 160,000, and the United States should cease making baseless claims.
"The enemy of the United States is the virus and not China," Geng said. "Stop the groundless attacks against China."
On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump neither denied nor confirmed the origin of the novel coronavirus from a lab in Wuhan.
Speaking to Fox News' John Roberts, Trump had said, "Well, I don't want to say that, John, but I will tell you more and more we're hearing the story and we'll see."
Fox News had reported the coronavirus was a naturally occurring pathogen from state-owned Wuhan Institute of Virology, quoting anonymous sources. Beijing has claimed the outbreak began in a local seafood market.
On Monday, Geng defended China against claims Beijing should compensate nations affected by COVID-19.
"When the H1N1 pandemic erupted in the United States in 2009, and 200,000 people died in 214 countries, was there a country that demanded reparations?" Geng said.
The Chinese spokesman also said there were no calls for the United States to compensate affected nations in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
The United States has suggested China is responsible for the spread of the coronavirus. Last Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked Chinese Ambassador Yang Jiechi for full transparency. The top U.S. diplomat has also criticized the World Health Organization and has accused the Chinese government of a cover-up.
More countries are urging greater Chinese transparency.
ABC Australia reported Sunday a bipartisan Australian push for a global inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic has begun.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne is asking China to allow transparency in investigations. She also suggested the WHO should not run the inquiry, according to the report.