'Will ensure others know COVID-19 originated in China'

US will make sure other countries know that coronavirus originated in China: Pompeo

Reuters/File photo

The United States is working with other countries to make sure they understand that coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.

Stressing that the burden is on Beijing to explain where the virus came from, Pompeo told The Ben Shapiro Show in an interview on Friday that China knew about the virus by December, 2019.

“We need to hold accountable the parties responsible for the deaths here in the United States and the enormous economic costs that have been posed on the US,” he said.

Pompeo said that the entire global economic system has been decimated.

"Diplomatically, we're reaching out to countries all across the world to help them do the right thing, to help their economies get started back up, to make sure that when the time is right we can get international travel kicked back up so that global commerce can recommence, he said.

“If you get demand back up, that will matter an awful lot to workers right here in the United States of America,” he said.

“We are also working with those countries to make sure they understand that this was in fact a virus that originated in Wuhan, China, that the Chinese government knew about this certainly by December of 2019," he said.

"... and that they (China) failed to comply with their most fundamental obligations as a nation, and importantly, too, failed to comply with the international health regulations of the World Health Organization and then did a lot of things – and we can talk about them at great length – to cover that up,” Pompeo added.

Those are the kinds of things that the US needs to address, he said.

Pompeo alleged that the World Health Organization failed in its mission to protect the world from the pandemic.

“We’re not going to let that happen again, and we’re going to set up something, a system, which delivers an outcome which reduces the risk that anything like this can ever happen again, from China or from anyplace else,” he said.

Responding to a question, Pompeo said that even the world’s largest businesses now can see the political risk associated with operating in China.

“When the Chinese Communist Party refuses to uphold basic norms of transparency, basic set of functions that preserve human rights, and the things that need to happen just to make sure the globe doesn’t end up in crises like – I think out of their own economic interest they’re going to make very different decisions going forward. I think that’s completely appropriate for them to evaluate that,” he said.

Meanwhile in an interview to NPR, National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said that the “burden is on the Chinese to explain where the virus came from. But there is a lab in Wuhan that deals with this sort of virus. And we need to know if there was some sort of release. Accidental, perhaps."

"We don't know where the virus came from. Maybe it came from a wet market in Wuhan. Maybe it came from one of the two virology labs in Wuhan,” O’Brien said.

In a statement, Congressman Jeff Van Drew called out China’s government for their role in the "death, destruction and dereliction" of human decency in their behaviour over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Every American of every background and creed should be furious with China for their disregard of human well-being amidst the Coronavirus cover-up they have participated in," he said.

"Had we known sooner, or had the Chinese government been honest, we would not be in the position we are today,” he said.

“We have relied on China for far too long to provide cheap labour and goods at the expense of America and our workers. We must bring that supply-chain home and end the export gap we have; It's time to hold China accountable for their actions,” Drew said.

Congressman Michael Waltz on Friday introduced a legislation in the House of Representatives that would ban members of the US military and federal employees from funding China’s People’s Liberation Army through their federal retirement plans.

“It is absolutely crazy for our military and federal employees to be indirectly contributing to China’s military operations – and what’s worse is that nearly all of these people are completely unaware of this situation,” Waltz said.

Congressman Waltz’s bill would ban the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) – all five of whom were appointed by President Barack Obama – from steering military and federal employees’ retirement contributions to China.

Every month, a combined 5.6 million US military members and federal employees contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a 401K-style plan taken out of their paychecks.

The TSP, which is administered by the FRTIB, is responsible for over USD700 billion in assets, making it one of the world’s largest retirement funds.

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