WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tightened criticism of China’s handling of the Corona virus outbreak on Tuesday, saying the ruling Communist Party still denies the government the world information it needs to prevent further cases .
FILE PHOTO: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies before the House House Foreign Affairs hearing on “Trump’s Administrative Policy Concerning Iran, Iraq and Violence”. on Capitol Hill in Washington, United States, February 28, 2020. REUTERS / Carlos Barria
In an interview with Washington Watch radio, Pompeo reiterated previous allegations that Beijing’s delay in sharing information about the virus has caused risks to people worldwide and that it has “really endangered thousands of lives”.
“I am concerned that this cover-up, this disinformation in which the Chinese Communist Party is involved, still refuses to give the world the information it needs so that we can prevent further cases or the like from happening again,” he added added.
Pompeo also accused Iran and Russia of running disinformation campaigns about the virus.
“The disinformation campaign from Russia, Iran and China continues,” he said. “They talk about it coming from the US Army and they say it may have started in Italy, all to divert responsibility.”
Despite his strong criticism of China, Pompeo refrained from calling the virus the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus”, labels that annoyed Beijing and that he used repeatedly.
“The time for accusations will come,” he said, adding, however, that it is important for the world now to know what is really going on.
“This is an ongoing global crisis and we need to make sure that every country today is transparent and shares what is really going on so that the global community, the global community for health care and infectious diseases can begin to work in a holistic way . ”
Pompeo, a stubborn critic of Beijing and the Communist Party, said that “very important decisions” about the structure of US-China relations will have to be made in the future.
He added that the supply chain challenges in the US are due to the fact that companies “operate their supply chains from China, but not here in the US”.
Pompeo failed to elaborate, but US government officials said last week that the White House is preparing an executive order to help move medical supply chains from China and other overseas countries to the United States during the corona virus outbreak.
The proposed U.S. push has raised concerns in China and elsewhere, although it is unclear when Trump could act.
Speaking daily to his coronavirus task force, Trump said the United States “should never be dependent on a foreign country to ensure our own survival.”
“Our goal for the future must be to have American medicine for American patients, American care for American hospitals …”
Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Edited by Richard Pullin