While some individual states have already filed lawsuits against China, the administration of US President Donald Trump is reportedly considering measures against Beijing for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump’s position is that China could have done more to warn and protect the world from the pandemic.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said “enormous evidence” showed the new coronavirus originated in a lab in China, further fueling tensions with Beijing over its handling of the outbreak.
Trump, increasingly critical of China’s management of the first outbreak in the city of Wuhan in December, last week claimed to have proof it started in a Chinese laboratory.
Scientists believe the virus jumped from animals to humans, after emerging in China, possibly from a market in Wuhan selling exotic animals for meat.
Coronavirus: Lessons from Asia
Trump, without giving details, said Thursday he had seen evidence the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the source, appearing to echo speculation fueled by US right-wing radio commentators about a secret lab.
China denies the claims and even the US Director of National Intelligence office has said analysts are still examining the exact origin of the outbreak.
‘Infecting the world’
Pompeo, a former CIA chief, told ABC News he agreed with a statement from the US intelligence community about the “wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified”.
But Pompeo went further than Trump citing “significant” and “enormous” evidence the virus originated in a Wuhan lab.
“I think the whole world can see now, remember, China has a history of infecting the world and running substandard laboratories.”
Pompeo said early Chinese efforts to downplay the coronavirus amounted to “a classic Communist disinformation effort. That created enormous risk”.
“President Trump is very clear: we’ll hold those responsible accountable.”
SOURCE: Al Jazeera News