US summons Chinese ambassador over Covid-19 conspiracy theory

The US State Department has summoned Cui Tiankai, China's ambassador to the US. Photo: Chris Kleponis / AFP

The United States on Friday summoned China’s ambassador after a senior official in Beijing tweeted the “ridiculous” suggestion that the US military started the Covid-19 pandemic, the State Department said.

David Stilwell, the top US diplomat for Asia, gave a “stern representation” to Ambassador Cui Tiankai a day after foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted the conspiracy theory.

“China is seeking to deflect criticism for its role in starting a global pandemic and not telling the world,” a State Department official said.