WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on Monday the trade deal with China is “over,” and he linked the breakdown in part to Washington’s anger over Beijing’s not sounding the alarm earlier about the coronavirus outbreak.

“It’s over,” Navarro told Fox News in an interview when asked about the trade agreement. He said the “turning point” came when the United States learned about the spreading coronavirus only after a Chinese delegation had left Washington following the signing of the Phase 1 deal on Jan. 15.

“It was at a time when they had already sent hundreds of thousands of people to this country to spread that virus, and it was just minutes after wheels up when that plane took off that we began to hear about this pandemic,” Navarro said.

U.S.-China relations have reached their lowest point in years since the coronavirus pandemic that began in China hit the United States hard. President Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly have accused Beijing of not being transparent about the outbreak.

Trump on Thursday renewed his threat to cut ties with China, a day after his top diplomats held talks with Beijing and his trade representative said he did not consider decoupling the U.S. and Chinese economies a viable option.

Navarro has been one of the most outspoken critics of China among Trump’s senior advisers.

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler

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