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China’s Xi offers help to US but Trump intensifies sanctions on countries

President Xi Jinping says China is ready to help the US with the fast-growing coronavirus outbreak, as Washington steps up its sanctions policy against world countries.

In a phone conversation with Trump, Xi told his American counterpart that “China and the US should unite to fight the epidemic,” the Chinese foreign ministry said Friday.

“Working together brings both sides benefits, fighting hurts both. Cooperation is the only choice,” Xi added.

He also called on Trump to take “substantive actions” to develop a relationship that is “without conflict and confrontation” but based on “mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation.”

Xi said he hoped Washington would take “effective measures” to safeguard the lives of Chinese citizens in the US, describing the pandemic as the “common enemy of mankind.”

“Only by [being] united can the international community defeat it,” Xi added.

Washington has blamed China for the virus outbreak, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December and then spread to the rest of the world.

Trump also continues to call COVID-19 “the Chines virus,” despite protestations from Beijing.

After the phone call, Trump said he had a “very good conversation” with the Chinese president.

He said in a Twitter message that China had “developed a strong understanding of the virus” and was working with the US.

The US has now the highest number of the viral infection in the world, according to new information released on Thursday.

The United States has surpassed virus hotspots, China and Italy, with 82,404 confirmed cases, a tracker run by the Johns Hopkins University showed.

The new respiratory illness has so far killed more than 24,000 people globally, and keeps ravaging the world’s economy.

Trump, however, insisted that the US would continue with its policy of maximum pressure against various countries, including Iran, Iraq and Venezuela.

The US president has stepped up the sanctions and dismissed calls from the international community to ease sanctions at a time when there must be a concerted global fight against the pandemic.

On Tuesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human rights called for any sanctions imposed on countries to be “urgently re-evaluated.”

“In a context of global pandemic, impeding medical efforts in one country heightens the risk for all of us,” said Michelle Bachelet.

She also insisted “humanitarian exemptions to sanctions measures should be given broad and practical effect, with prompt, flexible authorization for essential medical equipment and supplies.”

The Trump administration on Thursday launched indictments against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and several members of his government on narco-terrorism charges.

It also offered a $15 million bounty for information leading to Maduro’s capture and conviction.

The US has imposed several rounds of sanctions against the oil-rich country aimed at ousting Maduro and replacing him with opposition figure Juan Guaido.

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