The Trump Administration is ramping up its rhetoric against China, claiming a lab in Wuhan may be responsible for the worldwide spread of the coronavirus. This, as a DHS report claims China intentionally hid the severity of the virus.
The Trump Administration is now doubling down on the claim that the novel coronavirus originated from a lab in Wuhan, China. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that he is confident the US Intelligence Community will come to the same conclusion.
“Remember China has a history of infecting the world and they have a history of running substandard laboratories. These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses that result of failures in a Chinese lab,” Pompeo said. “And so, while the Intelligence Committee continues to do its work, they should continue to do that and verify so that we are certain, I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”
Pompeo went on to say he believes the spread of the virus was the result of an accident in the lab, not a deliberate act. When questioned about reports that the lab in question received $7.4 million dollars in funding from the US to study the coronavirus in bats, under the direction of Dr. Anthony Fauci, Pompeo claimed this is a normal practice, meant to “protect Americans.“
He said, “The United States, for a long time and continuing today, tries to help countries around the world who are conducting research on highly contagious pathogens. We do this not only in China, but we try to bring our expertise… to precisely prevent something like this.”
However, Pompeo did not explain how he believes the virus could come from a lab that was already receiving aid from Washington. In response to the claims, an editorial in China’s Global Times accused the US of engaging in “unprecedented propaganda warfare.”
It argued that since Pompeo said his claims are supported by “enormous evidence,” then he should present that evidence to the world, and especially to the American public.
The comments from the Trump Administration come as the Department of Homeland Security issues a new report, in which it claims China is guilty of covering up the danger of the coronavirus.
The DHS is accusing China of downplaying the severity of the virus in early January, with the goal of stocking up on medical supplies before the rest of the world knew about the threat. The report claims they did this by delaying transport data, to cover up the fact that they decreased exports of medical supplies.
Meanwhile, the US confirmed it has deployed four B-1B Lancer Bombers and 200 airmen to Guam as part of a new “bomber task force.” While they say the units will be used for “strategic deterrence missions to reinforce the rules-based international order” in the region, concerns remain about how those missions will impact already heightened tensions in the South China Sea.
The latest increased tensions between the US and China sent global stocks falling on Monday, as the world waits to see what the next move will be in this war of words over the coronavirus pandemic.