The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said that the US has called on China to permanently shut its wildlife wet markets, citing links between those markets and zoonotic diseases.
In a statement, Pompeo on Wednesday said, “Given the strong link between illegal wildlife sold in wet markets and zoonotic diseases, the United States has called on the People’s Republic of China to permanently close its wildlife wet markets and all markets that sell illegal wildlife.”
The Chinese pandemic coronavirus emerged from one such market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has spread around the world killing over 180,000 people and infecting over 2.6 million.
China destroyed virus samples: Pompeo
Continuing his attack on China, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused China of destroying coronavirus samples as part of a cover-up during the early days of the outbreak, thereby “making it impossible to track the disease’s evolution”.
Pompeo said he “strongly believed” that Beijing had failed to report the outbreak in a timely manner, which was a breach of World Health Organization rules, and had failed to report human-to-human transmission of the virus “for a month until it was in every province inside of China.”
“We strongly believe that the Chinese Communist Party did not report the outbreak of the new coronavirus in a timely fashion to the World Health Organization,” Pompeo said during a news briefing at the State Department.
Pompeo added that even after notifying the WHO of the outbreak in the city of Wuhan in December, the ruling Communist Party did not share enough information that it had and instead covered up how dangerous the disease was.
Mike Pompeo also hit out at Beijing accusing it of taking advantage of the pandemic to bully neighbours.
US seeks origin of Coronavirus
At the UNSC meeting, USA called for an analysis of the origins of Coronavirus, in an obvious dig at China, while the latter insisted that no country should be made a scapegoat and called for global solidarity in the wake of the pandemic. SG Anthony Gutierres’s call for a global ceasefire received no support and the only thing the UNSC agreed on was on press elements post the meet.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) met on April 9 through video conference to discuss the Wuhan Coronavirus crisis but the meet ended without any concrete outcomes. In March China was presiding at UNSC and at that time it had blocked any discussion on the Coronavirus, but after the Dominican Republic became the president of Security Council in April, the matter was taken up.
Earlier, Trump had triggered a diplomatic war with China by repeatedly referring the Novel Coronavirus as Chinese Virus. Several leaders in the United States have been highly critical of both China and WHO of their handling of the situation, accusing them of hiding vital information and underplaying the crisis at the beginning. US President Trump had also expressed doubt over the accuracy of Chinese statistics for cases and deaths.