U.S. Stands With Australia After China Threatens Economic Retribution Over Coronavirus Origins Inquiry, Pompeo Says

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned Wednesday the U.S. would proceed to help Australia in its pursuit of an impartial inquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Australia’s name for an impartial inquiry into the virus’ origins final month has acquired pushback from China, the place medical doctors in Wuhan first reported the presence of COVID-19 in late 2019. Though Australia’s inquiry request gained help from nations all over the world, with greater than 100 signing on to a movement submitted to the World Health Organization Assembly earlier this week, China retaliated against Australia by imposing new financial pressures at a time when the pandemic has already precipitated measurable harm to the worldwide economic system.

“We stand with Australia and the more than 120 nations who have taken up the American call for an inquiry into the origins of the virus so we can understand what went wrong and save lives,” Pompeo mentioned throughout a Wednesday information briefing.

China, which is at present Australia’s greatest buying and selling accomplice for each exports and imports, started halting some Australian beef imports final week. China continued to show up the dial on financial pressures this week when it introduced 80-percent tariffs on Australian barley imports.

U.S. Stands With Australia After China Threatens Economic Retribution Over Coronavirus Origins Inquiry, Pompeo Says
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the press on the State Department in Washington, DC, on May 20, 2020. NICHOLAS KAMM/POOL/AFP by way of Getty Images

Despite the mounting pressures, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison mentioned throughout a press briefing on May 15 that the nation deliberate to proceed pursuing its inquiry. Though Morrison described Australia’s buying and selling relationship with China as one grounded in “mutual benefit,” he mentioned conflicts did often come up that have to be labored out.

“We are standing our ground on our values and the things that we know are always important,” Morrison mentioned concerning the most recent impacts on buying and selling. “We draw very clear lines about things that are very important to us, as does the Chinese government.”

Newsweek has contacted the Chinese overseas ministry for remark and can replace this text with any response.

In addition to emphasizing America’s alignment with Australia, Pompeo referred to as for extra transparency from the Chinese authorities and criticized the nation’s response to the pandemic so far.

“China’s contributions to fighting the pandemic are paltry compared to the costs that they have imposed on the world,” Pompeo mentioned. He referenced the rising COVID-19 demise toll within the U.S., which lately surpassed 90,000, in addition to the financial influence on the nation. As of May 14, greater than 36 million Americans have misplaced jobs since pandemic restrictions started forcing enterprise closures in March.

“It’s been 142 days since doctors at Wuhan Central Hospital first started sharing information about a SARS-like virus,” Pompeo mentioned. “As we all sit here this morning, Beijing continues to deny investigators access to relevant facilities, to withhold live virus samples, to censor discussion of the pandemic within China and much, much more.”