China has hit back at British media accusations that it has conducted a 'misinformation blitz' about COVID-19.
Reports that China was seeking economic power with 'predatory offers of help' and that its actions had led to lack of testing in the UK were untrue and groundless, according to a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in London.
"We are shocked and deeply concerned," the spokesperson said in a statement which underlined how China has helped the rest of the world deal with the unfolding COVID-19 crisis.
"China wasted no time in identifying the pathogen, sharing the genetic sequence with the World Health Organization, sharing experience with other countries in need and providing assistance to more than 120 countries."
The statement noted that Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO has said: "China 'deserves our gratitude and respect' and China's experience is 'worth learning'."
And it said that senior British officials had made clear the reported remarks do not represent the government's position, that the British side speaks highly of China's contribution to the global response to Covid-19 and regards the China-UK relationship as fundamentally important.
The British government had already expressed satisfaction about the help it has received from China to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. Speaking to the press on Monday, foreign secretary Dominic Raab said: "We need to bring as many countries together, if we're going to collaborate effectively in tackling this crisis and stopping further waves.
"We had good cooperation with the Chinese government in terms of repatriating UK nationals from Wuhan. But obviously, after the crisis has abated, I think the time would be right to conduct a kind of lessons learnt and I am sure the World Health Organization will be at the forefront of that."
Officials from Britain and China have been in touch with each other since the disease spread beyond the Chinese mainland.
The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has himself been infected and remains in self-isolation, spoke to China's President Xi Jinping on 23 March.
The two leaders resolved to work to ensure that knowledge about the most effective public health measures is shared between countries.
They also agreed on the wider need for ongoing international cooperation, particularly through the G20, to share expertise, support the global economic system and strengthen the ability of vulnerable countries to tackle the virus. (Nilay Syam)