close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
AFP
March 22, 2020

China berates ‘lying’ Pompeo as US presses on pandemic

World

AFP
March 22, 2020

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday demanded that China share more data on the novel coronavirus as Beijing angrily accused him of lying and said Washington was trying to shift blame.

It was the latest clash in an escalating feud between the two powers over the global COVID-19 pandemic, which was first detected in the Chinese metropolis Wuhan but has now infected more than 250,000 people worldwide and hobbled life in the West.

Pompeo — who, like President Donald Trump, has enraged Beijing by speaking of the “Chinese virus” — said Beijing had a “special obligation” to scientists due to its early knowledge of the illness. “This is not about retribution,” Pompeo told reporters at the White House. “We need to make sure that even today, the data sets that are available to every country, including data sets that are made available to the Chinese Communist Party, are made available to the whole world. It’s an imperative to keep people safe.”

In an interview earlier with Fox News, Pompeo said China “wasted valuable days” after identifying the novel coronavirus by letting “hundreds of thousands” leave Wuhan to places including Italy — which has surpassed China as the country with the highest death toll. “The Chinese Communist Party didn’t get it right and put countless lives at risk as a result of that,” Pompeo said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying voiced anger over Pompeo’s claim of hundreds of thousands leaving Wuhan, writing in English: “Stop lying through your teeth!”

“As WHO experts said, China’s efforts averted hundreds of thousands of infection cases,” she tweeted.

In a briefing in Beijing, another foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said that China had shown “great sacrifice” and contributed to global health.

“Some people on the US side are trying to stigmatize China’s fight against the epidemic, and shift the blame onto China,” he said.

Beijing’s state media took to Trump’s favorite medium of Twitter — which is largely banned in China — to taunt him with hashtags such as #TrumpSlump and #Trumpandemic

Hua said China first told the United States of the novel coronavirus outbreak on January 3, with the State Department alerting Americans in Wuhan on January 15. “And now blame China for delay? Seriously?” she wrote on Twitter. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus soon replied: “By Jan. 3, Chinese authorities had already ordered #COVID19 virus samples destroyed, silenced Wuhan doctors, and censored public concerns online.”