April 28 (UPI) -- China accused the United States of telling "barefaced lies" following a statement from U.S. President Donald Trump suggesting China compensate the United States for the economic fallout from the coronavirus.
Beijing's foreign ministry said Tuesday accountability for deaths and crashing economies lies with individual governments, not China.
"They have only one objective: shirk their responsibility for their own poor epidemic prevention and control measures and divert public attention," spokesman Geng Shuang said.
The United States is reporting more than a million infections and over 56,000 COVID-19-related deaths. China, by contrast, has issued numbers suggesting the situation is stabilizing, reporting less than 83,000 infections. Critics have suggested China may not be exercising transparency.
On Tuesday, Geng said countries like the United States lack the will to beat back the virus and that "U.S. politicians" can never accomplish the level of disease prevention enforced in China.
U.S. statements only "reveal the United States' sinister, hidden intentions and their serious problems," the spokesman said.
On Monday, during a press conference at the White House Rose Garden, Trump had not ruled out seeking reparations from Beijing, while endorsing views China covered up the outbreak in its early stages and continues to withhold actual numbers regarding the disease.
There are "a lot of ways you can hold them accountable," Trump said. "We are not happy with that whole situation because we believe they could have been stopped at the source, quickly and not have spread over the world.
"We have not determined the final amount. It's very substantial."
The United States is not alone in supporting a path toward compensation. German media has called on China to pay Berlin $165 billion in damages.
China continues to target citizens critical of the way authorities have handled the coronavirus outbreak.
South China Morning Post reported Monday Liang Yanping, a Chinese literature professor at Hubei University, is under investigation for voicing support for a local novelist who criticized Wuhan's response to the outbreak.