After already threatening China with punitive taxes this week, the United States further toughened its tone on Sunday by claiming to have “a significant amount of evidence” that the new coronavirus comes from a laboratory in the city of Wuhan, cradle of the pandemic.
American Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo did not take gloves to escalate the verbal escalation against Beijing.
“There is huge evidence that this is where it started,” said Secretary of State for ABC on the Wuhan Virology Institute.
“It is not the first time” that China has thus put “the world in danger” because of “substandard laboratories”, he insisted, without wanting to say if he thought that the new coronavirus was intentionally released by Beijing.
Mike Pompeo had been more cautious Thursday admitting not to know if the virus came from the laboratory of Wuhan, an open-air market in the city, “or even from another place”.
President Donald Trump had just linked the virus to the laboratory for the first time, without dwelling on the subject, and had threatened China with “punitive customs taxes”, as in the months of the trade dispute that had been going on for months the top two global economies.
The statements of the Republican billionaire and his secretary of state go beyond the analysis of the American intelligence services.
The latter announced on Thursday that they had come to the conclusion that the new coronavirus had not been created by humans or modified genetically. But they did not yet have sufficient information “to determine whether the epidemic started with contact with infected animals or whether it was the result of a laboratory accident in Wuhan”.
Former CIA director Mike Pompeo on Sunday denounced the lack of cooperation from Chinese officials to shed light on the exact origin of the pandemic.
“They continue to prevent access to Westerners, to the best doctors,” he said on ABC. “We have to be able to go there. We still don’t have the virus samples we need. ”
A report from the Five Eyes alliance between Anglo-Saxon intelligence agencies (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand), obtained by the Australian Daily Telegraph, claims that China has knowingly destroyed evidence on the origin of the new coronavirus.
According to the newspaper, the 15-page document indicates that the Chinese government has silenced or “disappeared” the doctors who spoke on the subject, and refused to share samples with the international scientific community, even if that put “the other endangered countries ”.
Coordinator of the White House crisis cell on the coronavirus, Dr. Deborah Birx also regretted Sunday that the Chinese authorities have been slow to communicate on the epidemic, which left Wuhan in December.
“It took them until mid-January to even speak of human-to-human transmission,” the specialist, who said the lack of transparency, “helped spread the virus through,” said. the world “.
Donald Trump has often attacked China since the start of the pandemic, which has considerably weakened the American economy, whose strength was to be one of the main arguments of his re-election campaign.
At the end of January, the American president had announced the ban on entry into the United States of foreign travelers from China.
He also angered Beijing by loudly claiming the expression “Chinese virus” to designate the new coronavirus.
Mike Pompeo accused the Chinese Communist Party at the time of sowing “overwhelming rumors” that the US military may have introduced the virus into his country.
This first war of words had led in March to the expulsion of American journalists in China, and to the reduction of the number of Chinese authorized to work for media from Beijing to the United States.
Donald Trump, who regularly accuses China of lying about his human toll, also recently raised the possibility of asking China to pay billions of dollars in reparations for the damage caused by the epidemic.