An American television network has apologized for a late night comedy segment in which a young child jokingly suggested to "kill everyone in China" as a way for the U.S. to avoid paying its debts.
ABC said in a statement it "would never purposefully broadcast anything to upset the Chinese community, Asian community, anyone of Chinese descent or any community at large," adding its "objective is to entertain."
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel has already apologized for the incident, which came last week during a regular comedy routine on his late night talk show that features kids reacting to world news events.
When Kimmel asked the five- and six-year-old kids how the U.S. should pay China the $1.3 trillion it owes the country, one of the children replied, "shoot cannons all the way over and kill everyone in China."
Kimmel, who responded to the child's comment by laughing and saying, "that's an interesting idea," said he thought it was obvious that he did not agree with the suggestion.
Some Asian-American and Chinese-American groups angered by the comments started petitions and filed formal complaints to ABC over the episode.
U.S. Congressman Mike Honda, who is of Japanese descent, also slammed Kimmel's show, saying "racial hatred" is not funny. He said such statements, "left unchecked, promote intolerance."
ABC's statement said the segment has been removed and will not appear online or in future airings of the episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live."