THE Pentagon is skeptical about whether China is being truthful about the origins of the coronavirus outbreak.
US military officials believe the Chinese government has been “misleading” the country on the virus‘ origins, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Thursday morning.
“I find it hard to trust much of what comes out of the Chinese Communist Party,” Esper told Today Show host Savannah Guthrie.
“They’ve been misleading us, they’ve been opaque, if you will, from the early days of this virus so I don’t have much faith that they’re even being truthful with us now.”
Esper blamed the lagging US response on China not being more transparent about the illness earlier on.
Had the Chinese government done so, it would have allowed American researchers to stay ahead of the curve by developing vaccines sooner, he said.
Esper called on the China to be “far more forthright than they’ve ever been” and stressed the importance of a unified response.
“It’s a global pandemic so we have to take a global response,” he said.
“We can’t have one of the largest nations in the world hiding information or not being transparent when it comes to helping us deal with this.”
A majority of senior military officials believe the coronavirus is “organic” despite reports that the killer disease was concocted in a lab, Esper said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News Wednesday it’s “telling” that China “hasn’t shared the answers” on COVID-19’s exact origins.
However, the US government is “working diligently” to figure out where the virus started, he added.
“What we do know is we know that the virus originated in Wuhan, China,” he said.
“We know that there is the Wuhan Institute of Virology just a handful of miles away from where the wet market was. There’s still lots to learn.”
Last week, Republican lawmakers pushed for China to be held responsible for the pandemic that has infected more than 640,000 in the US.
In an April 9 letter written by Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, he called on global officials to hold China accountable “for mishandling this outbreak.”
On Thursday, China hit back at suggestions that the coronavirus was created in a lab amid Pompeo urging the nation to “come clean.”
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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Thusday that the claim is “groundless”, according to state-owned news outlet CGTN.
“Officials of the World Health Organization have repeatedly said there’s no evidence the virus was made in a lab, he said.
“Many experts have also said the claim lacks scientific ground.”
Lijian pledged China would continue to cooperate internationally and urged nations around the world to work together against the pandemic.
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