The United States is pushing relations with China to "the brink of a new Cold War", the Chinese foreign minister said on Sunday, with tensions soaring over coronavirus, Hong Kong's status and other issues.
"It has come to our attention that some political forces in the US are taking China-US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new Cold War," foreign minister Wang Yi told reporters.
Longstanding friction between the two powers over trade, human rights and other issues have been pushed to new heights since the COVID-19 outbreak.
Wang did not identify what "forces" he was referring to, but US President Donald Trump has led world criticism of China's initial response to the pandemic, which has caused more than 330,000 deaths and economic carnage worldwide.
The introduction in China's legislature on Friday of a proposal to impose a security law in Hong Kong to suppress the semi-autonomous city's pro-democracy movement has further raised the temperature, drawing US and world condemnation.
But Wang hit back at Washington, accusing it of seeking to repeatedly "attack and smear" China.
"Aside from the devastation caused by the novel coronavirus, there is also a political virus spreading through the US," Wang said at a press conference on the side of the annual legislative meeting.
"This political virus is the use of every opportunity to attack and smear China. Some politicians completely disregard basic facts and have fabricated too many lies targeting China, and plotted too many conspiracies."
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)