China urged the United States on Friday to meet halfway and step up cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic after President Donald Trump threatened to break bilateral ties.
Relations between the two largest economies in the world have deteriorated in recent weeks. Both sides exchange barbs for the origins of the virus, which killed more than 300,000 people.
"Maintaining the steady development of relations between China and the United States is in the basic interest of the people in both countries and promotes world peace and stability," Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press conference.
"Currently, China and the US should further strengthen cooperation against the epidemic, defeat the epidemic as soon as possible, treat patients and restore the economy and production. However, the US must meet halfway with China."
The comments came after Trump further tightened his rhetoric towards China and threatened to completely cut ties to rival superpower as relations deteriorated steadily during the pandemic.
"There are many things we could do … We could break the whole relationship," Trump said in an interview with Fox Business News on Thursday.
"You'd save $ 500 billion if you broke the whole relationship."
Trump said his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping was "very good," but added, "I just don't want to speak to him right now."
The threat came a week after a trade talk between U.S. and Chinese retailers in which both sides stressed their commitment to the Phase 1 trade agreement reached in January.
Given the pandemic and an emerging global economic downturn, however, doing business is becoming increasingly difficult.
In the pact signed in January, China agreed to buy $ 200 billion more in US goods within two years than in 2017 – before the trade war broke out and tariffs on billions of dollars triggered two-way trade.
Tensions between Washington and Beijing increased when they exchanged barbs for the origin of the pandemic that first occurred in late 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which Trump called the "plague from China".
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)