Secretary of State Mike Pompeo backed President Trump’s assertion that the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan, though intelligence agencies say they have reached no conclusion on the issue.
WASHINGTON D.C. (Agencies) – US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, claimed on Sunday there is “enormous evidence” the coronavirus outbreak originated in a Chinese laboratory – but did not provide any of the alleged evidence.
Pompeo’s claims, made in an interview with ABC’s This Week, represented an escalation in rhetoric. On Sunday, Pompeo said: “There is enormous evidence that that’s where this began,” later adding: “I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”
“Look, the best experts so far seem to think it was manmade. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point,” he said.
According to the New York Times and other media, Senior American officials, have said in private that evidence pointing to a lab accident is mainly circumstantial and based on public material.
The president’s recent attacks on China line up with leaked Republican party memos, published by Politico, encouraging candidates to aggressively target Beijing in their public remarks on the pandemic.
The Chinese government said on Thursday that any claims that the coronavirus was released from a laboratory were “unfounded and purely fabricated out of nothing”. The foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang cited the institute’s director, Yuan Zhiming, as saying the lab strictly implements bio-security procedures that would prevent the release of any pathogen.
Geng also refuted Trump’s claim that China was attempting to meddle in the US election. “The US presidential election is an internal affair, we have no interest in interfering in it,” he said.
He also criticized US politicians who have suggested China should be held accountable for the global pandemic, saying they should spend their time on “better controlling the epidemic situation at home”.
In an op-ed published on Thursday, editor of the state-run Global Times, Hu Xijin, labelled Trump’s focus on China a “stunt to divert Americans’ rage towards his administration’s own incompetence in fighting the virus”.
“Only by making Americans hate China can they make sure that the public might overlook the fact that Trump’s team is stained with the blood of Americans,” said Hu.
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