WASHINGTON (1) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hit out at Beijing once more on Wednesday over the coronavirus outbreak and accused it of taking benefit of the pandemic to bully neighbors, whilst he welcomed China’s provision of important medical supplies.

Pompeo instructed a information briefing that america “strongly believed” Beijing had did not report the outbreak in a well timed method, in breach of World Well being Group guidelines, and had did not report human-to-human transmission of the virus “for a month till it was in each province inside of China.”

Pompeo additionally mentioned China had halted testing of new virus samples, “destroyed current samples” and did not share samples with the surface world, “making it not possible to trace the illness’s evolution.”

The Trump administration has repeatedly criticized China’s dealing with of the coronavirus outbreak, which started late final yr within the Chinese language metropolis of Wuhan and has grown into a world pandemic. The outbreak has killed round 180,000 individuals globally, together with greater than 45,000 in america, based on a 1 tally.

Even after Beijing notified the WHO of the outbreak, Pompeo mentioned, “It didn’t share all of the data it had. As a substitute it coated up how harmful the illness is.”

President Donald Trump final week suspended U.S. funding of the WHO, accusing the U.N. company of selling China’s “disinformation” in regards to the outbreak. WHO officers have denied this and China has mentioned it has been clear and open.

Pompeo mentioned WHO Director-Normal Tedros Adhanom failed to make use of his capacity “to go public” when a member state did not comply with the principles. He mentioned the WHO had an obligation to make sure security requirements had been noticed in virology labs in Wuhan and its director-general had “monumental authority with respect to nations that don’t comply.”

Pompeo repeated allegations that China was exploiting the world’s give attention to the pandemic with “provocative conduct” to erode autonomy in Hong Kong, exert army strain on Taiwan and coerce neighbors within the South China Sea.

“The USA strongly opposes China’s bullying, we hope different nations will maintain them to account,” he mentioned.

China’s Overseas Ministry denied the united statesallegations on Thursday. “One or two individuals within the U.S. are complicated proper and fallacious and sowing discord on these points. These schemes won’t prevail,” mentioned Overseas Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

Pompeo additionally expressed concern over a U.S. government-funded examine that mentioned China’s Mekong River dams held again giant volumes of water throughout a drought in downstream nations final yr regardless of China having higher-than-average water ranges upstream. Beijing has disputed the examine’s findings.

The Secretary of State spoke in a while Wednesday with counterparts from the Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations and mentioned america has referred to as on China to shut its wildlife moist markets completely, citing hyperlinks between the markets and zoonotic ailments, which might bounce from animals to people.

The novel coronavirus is believed to have emerged in such a market in Wuhan late final yr.

Whereas the Trump administration has stepped up criticism of China because the pandemic worsens, the disaster has uncovered U.S. reliance on China for important medical supplies.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses a information convention on the State Division in Washington, U.S., April 7, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis/Pool/File Picture

Requested about current stories that supplies had been being held up in China, Pompeo mentioned: “The excellent news is now we have seen China present these assets; generally they’re from U.S. corporations which can be there in China, but we’ve had success. … We admire that.

“We’re relying on China to proceed to dwell as much as its contractual obligations and worldwide obligations to offer that help to us and to promote us these items … in a means according to all of the worldwide commerce guidelines.”

White Home adviser Peter Navarro, like Pompeo a persistent critic of Beijing, charged on Monday that China could also be withholding information about early coronavirus infections as a result of it desires to win the business race to create a vaccine.

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and David Brunnstrom; Further reporting by Jonathan Landay, Kanishka Singh and Gabriel Crossley; Modifying by Paul Simao, Leslie Adler and Tom Hogue