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President Trump said Friday that he had a “very good” conversation with President Xi of China after reports emerged that the two have not spoken since the early stages of the outbreak.
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Trump took to Twitter to announce that the two countries are working closely together to find a solution to the coronavirus outbreak that killed about 25,000 globally and shattered the global economy.
Trump’s call with Xi came the same day the U.S. saw its current COVID-19 cases surpass China. Beijing recently announced that it will relax the quarantine orders in Wuhan and said it expected the region to regain its footing.
“Just finished a very good conversation with President Xi of China. Discussed in great detail the CoronaVirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet. China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect,” Trump tweeted.
The call could be a step in the right direction after reports of a serious strain in the relationship between Washington and Beijing. Both countries have blamed the other as playing a role in its spread.
Trump has been criticized for calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus.”
Trump began calling COVID-19 “Chinese virus” soon after rumors began circulating among Chinese officials that coronavirus found its origin in the U.S. Army. It is widely believed that the virus originated at a wet market in Wuhan, China. Trump has maintained that the name is not racist but said he would stop using the name if the Chinese community found it offensive.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the last time the two leaders spoke was in early February. Since then, Xi has contacted countries in the European Union with offers of support to fight the virus, including equipment.
One Beijing government adviser told the Journal, “How do you cooperate when you hear the president of the United States referring to the epidemic as the ‘Chinese virus’ all day long.”
Fox News’ Morgan Phillips contributed to this report