US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (File Photo)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (File Photo)

China's 'disinformation campaign' designed to shift responsibility over coronavirus: Mike Pompeo

ANI | Updated: Mar 18, 2020 05:19 IST

Washington D.C. [US], Mar 18 (ANI): US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday (local time) hit out at China for the "disinformation campaign", which he said is "designed to shift responsibility" over coronavirus.
"The disinformation campaign that they are waging is designed to shift responsibility. Now is not the time for recrimination. Now is the time to solve this global pandemic and work to take down risks to Americans and people all across the world," Pompeo said during a press conference here.
The US Secretary of State said it took an "awfully long" time to become aware of this risk that was "residing inside of China".
"There will come a day when we will go evaluate how the entire world responded. We know this much: We know that the first government to be aware of the Wuhan virus was the Chinese government. That imposes a special responsibility to raise the flag, to say, 'We have a problem, this is different and unique and presents risk'. And it took an awfully long time for the world to become aware of this risk that was sitting there, residing inside of China," he said.
He also slammed the Iranian regime's "misinformation" campaign regarding the origin of the virus.
"I also want to call attention to the Iranian regime's misinformation campaign surrounding the origination of the Wuhan virus. Instead of focusing on the needs of the Iranian people and accepting genuine offers of support, senior Iranians lied about the Wuhan virus outbreak for weeks," said Pompeo.
"The Iranian leadership is trying to avoid responsibility for their grossly incompetent and deadly governance. Sadly, the Iranian people have been suffering these kinds of lies for 41 years. They know the truth: The Wuhan virus is a killer and the Iranian regime is an accomplice," the US Secretary of State said.
Pompeo also stressed that US remains committed to ISIS's "enduring defeat no matter who they designate as their leader".

"Today the Department of State is announcing our intent to designate Amir Muhammad Sa'id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla a specially designated global terrorist. He was previously active in al-Qaida in Iraq and is known for torturing innocent Yezidi religious minorities. He was named the leader of ISIS after we killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last year. We've destroyed the caliphate and we remain committed to ISIS's enduring defeat no matter who they designate as their leader," announced Pompeo.
Further, he said, the Department of State is also sanctioning nine entities based in South Africa, Hong Kong and China, as well as three Iranian individuals, all for "knowingly engaging in significant transactions for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport or marketing of petrochemical products from Iran, the world's largest leading state sponsor of terror".
"This action includes the designation of Iran's armed forces social security investment company and its director for using their resources to invest in sanctioned entities," he said.
Speaking about Syria, Pompeo said that US has designated "Assad regime's minister of defence", Lieutenant General Ali Abdullah Ayoub, "for perpetuating the violence and the disastrous humanitarian crisis inside of Syria".
Speaking about China revoking press credentials of American journalists with three US newspapers, Pompeo said: "First, in their statement they suggested somehow that the actions that we had taken here in America prompted this. This isn't apples to apples. You all know the press freedoms you have."
"The individuals that we identified a few weeks back were not media that were acting here freely. They were part of the Chinese propaganda outlets. We'd identified these as foreign missions under American law. These aren't apples to apples in any respect.
"And I regret China's decision today to further foreclose the world's ability to conduct free press operations, which, frankly would be really good for the Chinese people, really good for the Chinese people in these incredibly challenging global times, where more information, more transparency are what will save lives. This is unfortunate. We just saw it. I hope they'll reconsider," he said.
He also informed that some employees of the state department have tested positive for coronavirus.
"We've had a couple of employees - count them on one hand - who have positive tests. We've handled those exactly the way we're asking every American to respond to those wherever they find themselves in the world," he said. (ANI)