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China slams U.S. senator for remarks on coronavirus vaccine

China slams U.S. senator for remarks on coronavirus vaccine
China criticized U.S. Sen. Rick Scott on Monday, following comments regarding China and coronavirus vaccine development. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

June 8 (UPI) -- China is demanding evidence it is interfering in the global development of a novel coronavirus vaccine, following comments from U.S. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida.

Beijing's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a regular press briefing on Monday that Scott should submit proof of Chinese meddling in vaccine development.

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Scott "says the United States has evidence," Hua said. "If so, he should give it."

Hua also said there have been "too many instances" of U.S. slandering of China.

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On Sunday during an interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Scott accused the Chinese government of trying to block vaccine development in the West.

Scott did not provide details but said the U.S. intelligence community had corroboration of Chinese efforts to deter countries like the United States from developing a solution to the coronavirus pandemic that began in Wuhan, China.

"We have got to get this vaccine done. Unfortunately, we have evidence that communist China is trying to sabotage us or slow it down," Scott said.

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"China does not want us, and England and Europe to do it first. They've decided to be an adversary to America and democracies around the world."

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China and the United States have locked horns over a wide range of issues. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the decline in bilateral ties that began with the U.S.-China trade dispute.

U.S. President Donald Trump has referred to the virus as the "China virus," and has pulled out of the World Health Organization.

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On Monday, Hua said China will share information on a coronavirus vaccine, if it is the first to reach a solution.

"Chinese President Xi Jinping promised at the general assembly of the World Health Organization if China develops a COVID-19 vaccine, to share it as a public good," Hua said.

"We hope the United States will also promise to share a vaccine, if it develops one first."

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