US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launches new attack on China accusing it of still refusing access to its labs and providing faulty masks to other countries
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched a new round of attacks on China
- He accused Beijing of covering up the coronavirus outbreak and charged them with providing faulty medical equipment to other countries
- ‘China could have spared the world a descent into global economic malaise. They had a choice but instead – instead – China covered up the outbreak,’ he said
- Pompeo has pushed a theory the virus came from a Chinese lab
- Other administration officials and scientists say it likely came from animals
- China has denied the virus came from a lab and said Pompeo has no proof
- Pompeo also charged China with providing ‘shoddy’ protective masks and other equipment to nations suffering from the pandemic
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday launched a new round of attacks on China, accusing Beijing of covering up the coronavirus outbreak and charging them with providing faulty medical equipment to other countries.
‘China could have spared the world a descent into global economic malaise. They had a choice but instead – instead – China covered up the outbreak in Wuhan,’ Pompeo told reporters during a press conference at the State Department.
‘China is still refusing to share the information we need to keep people safe,’ he added.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched a new round of attacks on China, accusing Beijing of covering up the coronavirus outbreak and charging them with providing faulty medical equipment to other countries
Chinese officials have denied the coronavirus was created in a lab and said Secretary of State Mike Pomepo has no proof of his charge
Scientists and administration officials said the coronavirus was result of an animal to human transfer – likely from the Wuhan wet market that sells exotic animals for meat
Pompeo has alleged the coronavirus began in a lab in Wuhan, saying Sunday there was ‘enormous evidence’ this was the case. Chinese officials have denied the charge. Scientists and other administration officials have said it is likely the disease came from an animal transfer – possibly from a market in Wuhan selling exotic animals for meat.
The secretary of state argued there was no disagreement on where the virus came from and dismissed the idea that administration officials were giving contradictory statements on the virus origins.
His defense comes after top administration officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have said it was unlikely the virus came from a lab.
‘We don’t have certainty about whether it began in the lab or whether it began someplace else,’ Pompeo said.
‘We’re all trying to figure out the right answer. We’re all trying to get to clarity. There are different levels of certainty assessed at different places. That’s highly appropriate,’ he noted. ‘The reality is this came from Wuhan.’
‘Every one of those leaders – whether it’s Dr. Fauci or General Milley or myself or the president – we all know how to get to this answer. That’s where the focus needs to be.’
Pompeo also charged China with providing ‘shoddy’ protective masks and other equipment to nations suffering from the pandemic.
‘Spain has returned defective test kits made in China,’ he noted.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also charged China with delivery ‘shoddy’ masks and other medical equipment
The Trump administration has targeted China, blaming it for not being transparent enough in the early days of the pandemic
China on Wednesday hit back at Pompeo over his claims, saying he ‘doesn’t have any’ evidence.
‘I think this matter should be handed to scientists and medical professionals, and not politicians, who lie for their own domestic political ends,’ said foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
‘Mr. Pompeo repeatedly spoke up but he cannot present any evidence. How can he? Because he doesn’t have any,’ she said.
Pompeo on Sunday said there was ‘enormous evidence’ the coronavirus began in a Wuhan lab but he hasn’t provided any proof.
‘There’s enormous evidence that that’s where this began. We’ve said from the beginning that this was a virus that originated in Wuhan, China,’ Pompeo said on ABC’s This Week.
‘We took a lot of grief for that from the outset. But I think the whole world can see now. Remember, China has a history of infecting the world, and they have a history of running substandard laboratories,’ he added.
Other administration officials have cast doubt on that claim.
Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told National Geographic in an interview published on Monday the best evidence showed the virus was not made in a lab in China but appeared to have ‘evolved in nature and then jumped species.’
Asked if scientists could have found the virus outside the lab and brought it there, from where it escaped, Fauci said: ‘But that means it was in the wild to begin with. That’s why I don’t get what they’re talking about why I don’t spend a lot of time going in on this circular argument.’
And General Milley said Tuesday it was unclear if the virus emerged from a wet market in China, a laboratory or some other location, but said it was unlikely the disease man-made.
‘Did it come out of the virology lab in Wuhan? Did it occur in a wet market there in Wuhan? Did it occur somewhere else? And the answer to that is: We don’t know,’ the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said said.
President Donald Trump is also pushing China to be more transparent about the origins of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 1.2 million people in the United States and killed more than 70,000.
Trump, who initially praised China over its response to the outbreak, said he had not spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
‘We want them to be transparent. We want to find out what happened so it never happens again,’ he said at the White House before he left for a trip to Arizona.
There has been a growing suggestion that the coronavirus first crossed to humans accidentally during experiments with bats at the Wuhan Institute of Virology Lab.
After word of the outbreak finally became public, Chinese leaders were quick to blame Wuhan’s ‘wet market’ where wild animals — though not bats — are sold for consumption.
‘Patient zero’ worked at the Wuhan lab, and spread the virus into the local population after leaving work, sources who had been briefed on intelligence told the outlet.
China has refuted claims that the virus may have originated in a laboratory near the city of Wuhan where contagious samples were being stored.
Although the earliest confirmed case in Wuhan was a person who had no connection to the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market, Chinese officials quickly pinned the blame on the market, a talking point that was eagerly repeated by the World Health Organization.
‘A large proportion of the initial cases in late December 2019 and early January 2020 had a direct link to the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market in Wuhan City, where seafood, wild, and farmed animal species were sold,’ the WHO website says about the possible origins of the pandemic, while acknowledging the exact source of the outbreak has not been determined.
‘Many of the initial patients were either stall owners, market employees, or regular visitors to this market. Environmental samples taken from this market in December 2019 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, further suggesting that the market in Wuhan City was the source of this outbreak or played a role in the initial amplification of the outbreak,’ the WHO says.
Though scientists say that genetic evidence indicates the virus was not artificially engineered, likely originated in bats, and probably crossed over to a human in a single event, there is nothing in the genetic data to indicate exactly where and how the virus first crossed to humans.
On Sunday, Trump suggested that the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe is the result of a ‘horrible mistake’ made by China and that Chinese officials tried to cover it up.
He also fueled the suggestion that coronavirus came from a Wuhan lab and said there was evidence that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s regime misled the global community.
‘Well, I don’t think there’s any question about it. We wanted to go in, they didn’t want us to go in. Things are coming out that are pretty compelling. I don’t think there’s any question,’ the president said Sunday.
‘Personally, I think they made a horrible mistake, and they didn’t want to admit it,’ he added.
His comments came as a Department of Homeland Security report shared on Sunday revealed US officials believe China ‘intentionally concealed the severity’ of the pandemic in early January and hoarded medical supplies.
The four-page report dated May 1 that was obtained by the Associated Press notes that China downplayed the virus publicly but increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies.
The document accuses China of covering their tracks by ‘denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data.’
It lends weight to a leaked dossier drawn up by the Five Eyes intelligence alliance which describes how Beijing made whistleblowers ‘disappear’, destroyed early virus samples and scrubbed the internet of any mention of the disease in the early stages.
The president continued to point the finger at Beijing on Sunday during a Fox News virtual town hall meeting at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. where he said China sparked the outbreak before scrambling to cover it up
‘Personally, I think they made a horrible mistake, and they didn’t want to admit it…like a fire…They couldn’t put out the fire,’ the president said
In Sunday’s virtual town hall, Trump said that China failed to admit their mistake in refusing to accept global aid.
‘We wanted to go in, but they didn’t want us there.
‘Even World Health wanted to go in – they were admitted but much later, not immediately.
‘They made a mistake, they tried to cover it, like a fire…They couldn’t put out the fire,’ Trump said.
He condemned the Communist nation for not alerting global leaders on the severity of the outbreak while continuing to allow flights to exit China.
‘What they really treated the world badly on, they stopped people from going into China but they didn’t stop people from going into the USA and all the rest of the world.’
‘They knew they had a problem, I think they were embarrassed by the problem,’ Trump added.
When asked about President Xi, Trump said ‘I’m not going to say anything’ but ‘this should never have happened’.
Trump said that the federal government is putting together a ‘strong’ report on the origin of COVID-19 that has infected over a million in the US and killed over 68,000, adding it will be ‘very conclusive’.
Last week Trump told reporters that he had seen proof that suggests the virus originated in the lab, but he did not go into detail.
Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin watch as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the ‘America Together. Returning to Work’ town hall
Last week Trump told reporters that he had seen proof that suggests the virus originated in the lab, but he did not go into detail. The Wuhan Institute of Virology located near the wet market pictured above
Diplomats had complained about the slack safety measures at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the years prior to the coronavirus outbreak
Earlier on Sunday Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that ‘a significant amount of evidence’ suggested the virus came from the Wuhan lab.
‘I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.
‘These are not the first time that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab,’ Pompeo said on ABC’s This Week.
The US intelligence community said it believes that COVID-19 was not ‘manmade or genetically modified’ but was investigating whether it was caused by ‘an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan’.
However, Chinese officials and scientists have denied that there is any connection between the outbreak and the Institute of Virology in Wuhan that studies infectious diseases including coronavirus.
Experts believe the virus started spreading as early as February in the United States before it forced states to issue lockdown directives for millions of Americans beginning in mid-March.
Last week, Trump claimed that he had seen evidence that coronavirus started in the Wuhan virology laboratory and warned he could impose tariffs of $1 trillion on China in retribution for the pandemic.
‘Yes I have. Yes I have,’ Trump said when asked if he had seen proof the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Technology.
The Wuhan lab is located near a wet market that has been identified as the likely epicenter of the outbreak that took place late last year.
However, the president would not divulge what the evidence was that confirmed his suspicions, when asked by a reporter.
‘I can’t tell you that. I am not allowed to tell you that,’ he responded.
The Five Eyes spy document, which was leaked to the Australian Telegraph on Saturday, also details how ‘risky’ bat-related virus studies were carried out at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The 15-page document brands Beijing’s secrecy over the pandemic an ‘assault on international transparency’ and points to cover-up tactics deployed by the regime.
It cites several studies led by scientist Dr. Shi Zhengli at the Institute into deadly bat-derived coronaviruses, with at least one of the virus samples being a 96 per cent genetic match for Covid-19.
But as part of a mass ‘suppression and destruction of evidence’, the state ordered samples of the virus to be destroyed in laboratories while wet market was bleached to extinguish remnants of the disease.
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