President Donald Trump has lashed out at a China and blamed the country again for "mass worldwide killing" in the coronavirus pandemic.
The US President took to Twitter with his latest tirade, blaming "some wacko in China" for releasing a statement "blaming everyone other than China" for the virus that has now killed hundreds of people.
"Please explain to this dope that it was the 'incompetence of China', and nothing else, that did this mass worldwide killing!" he exclaimed.
It came as China's Xinhua News posted a statement from a spokesperson claiming "some politicians from a few countries including the United States will not succeed in their attempt to smear China over Covid-19".
Guo Weimin, spokesman for the third session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, only made reference to the United States directly, but claimed that worldwide, politicians "made unfounded claims that the virus came from China".
"The Chinese government has refuted such unfounded claims. Many international organisations, including the World Health Organisation, and some renowned experts, have also voiced their objections," he said.
Tensions have escalated between the US, China and Australia in recent days after the World Health Assembly passed a motion for an independent inquiry into the virus.
China's latest barb in an exchange of bizarre insults over escalating trade tensions, branded Australia as looking like a "giant kangaroo that acts as the dog of the US".
China also launched an extraordinary attack on Trump, saying the White House would be "burned down" if it was in Beijing.
While it's unclear which statement Trump is referring to, Guo made remarks at a press conference about the same time as he tweeted.
He said some politicians from a few countries including the United States will not succeed in their attempt to smear China over Covid-19.
Guo said politicians made unfounded claims that the virus came from China, or accused China of assisting other countries to raise geopolitical influence and compete for global leadership.
Such accusations are either out of political needs to deflect blame at home, or out of ideological bias, he said.
Earlier this week the Chinese government hit back at the Trump administration over the probe into the origins of Covid-19.
In an editorial, the state-run Global Times newspaper accused the US of playing politics with the virus, saying the Trump administration "has been striving to politically and legally hold China accountable for the Covid-19 pandemic".
"This is nonsense. But Washington is trying to duck its responsibility of ineptitude and inability," the article said.
"To make its nonsense seem rational, the US wants a conclusion which claims Wuhan is the origin, ideally the virus was leaked from a Wuhan lab.
"However, what Washington has recently found goes against its wish. New findings have potentially altered the timeline of the coronavirus outbreak in the US, with a large number of Covid-19 cases misclassified as influenza last winter.
"What if the investigation finds the US is the origin of the coronavirus? That would destroy the Trump administration's narrative and its re-election strategy."
It came after the Trump administration accused the WHO of allowing the Covid-19 pandemic to "spin out of control" at the cost of "many lives".
Chinese President Xi Jinping defended his country's record on handling coronavirus, backed a WHO-led investigation into the pandemic and pledged US$2 billion in aid to help tackle the disease at a speech in the World Health Assembly on Monday.