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Chinese ministry warned Xi of armed confrontation with US: report

The Hill logo The Hill 5/4/2020 John Bowden
Xi Jinping wearing a suit and tie: Chinese ministry warned Xi of armed confrontation with US: report © Getty Images Chinese ministry warned Xi of armed confrontation with US: report

A report from China's top intelligence ministry presented to President Xi Jinping reportedly warned of growing anti-Chinese sentiment around the world and raised the possibility of military conflict with the U.S.

Reuters reported Monday that the analysis, which was supposedly presented to Xi early last month, concluded that anti-Chinese sentiment resulting from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was at its highest since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. The report was created by the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of State Security.

The worst-case scenario outlined by the report apparently indicated the possibility of direct military conflict between the U.S. and China as a result of the growing dispute over Beijing's early responses to its coronavirus outbreak. The Trump administration has accused China of covering up official information about the virus, including altering death tolls and total infection counts.

A spokeswoman for the State Department did not confirm the existence of the report to Reuters, but slammed China's response to the pandemic in a statement: "Beijing's efforts to silence scientists, journalists, and citizens and spread disinformation exacerbated the dangers of this health crisis."

The State Department did not immediately return a request from The Hill for further comment.

Trump administration officials have attacked China over its handling of the coronavirus for months. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed the ruling Communist Party officials in an interview as recently as this weekend.

"We can confirm that the Chinese Communist Party did all that it could to make sure that the world didn't learn in a timely fashion about what was taking place," he told ABC's Martha Raddatz.

"President Trump has been very clear. We're going to hold those responsible accountable, and we'll do so on a timeline that is our own," Pompeo added.

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