Washington DC [USA], June 25 (ANI): US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Wednesday lashed out at China for making "empty promises" during last week's China-Africa summit and said that Chinese President Xi Jinping "failed to promise real transparency and accountability" for Beijing's role in "unleashing" the deadly coronavirus, which has infected over nine million people and claimed more than 400,000 lives globally.
He also said that Xi was not "putting lives front and centre" when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) "hid the truth" about COVID-19 from the world until it was too late.
"At last week's China-Africa Summit, we, unfortunately, saw more empty promises and tired platitudes from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). While President Xi said, 'we must always put our people and their lives front and centre'. He failed to promise real transparency and accountability for China's role in unleashing this deadly virus. He was not putting lives front and centre when the CCP hid the truth about COVID-19 from the world until it was too late, and now we continue to suffer through the disastrous results of those actions," Pompeo said.
US President Donald Trump, on multiple occasions, has blamed China for allowing the coronavirus to spread across the world. He has also referred to it as 'Chinese virus'. A war of words also emerged between Trump and Chinese diplomats of the world over blaming each other for the origin of the virus.
Pompeo said that the US continues to stand with its partners across Africa in confronting the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have invested more than USD 100 billion in public health sectors in sub-Saharan Africa over the last 20 years and more than USD 360 million in COVID-19 response so far. This is what a long-term partnership committed to building a healthier and more prosperous Africa looks like. Our government, US philanthropists and American businesses invest so heavily in Africa's health because a healthy population makes Africa -- and the rest of the world -- safer and more prosperous," he said.
He said that the US noted China's stated commitment to "earnestly" implement the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), "as it is no secret China is by far the largest bilateral creditor to African governments, creating an unsustainable debt burden".
"Most US foreign assistance, by contrast, comes in the form of grants rather than loans, in order to promote transparent, private sector-led economic growth that benefits all parties. Public disclosure of official loans helps hold governments accountable for their decisions and prevent corruption -- behaviour that deprives citizens of opportunities and undermines national sovereignty," Pompeo stated.
Continuing his attack against China, the top US diplomat said that CCP needs to move beyond "vague public statements" and start to "fully and transparently" implement the DSSI in accordance with its G20 commitments.
"The US remains Africa's most committed partner in promoting transparency and combatting the scourge of infectious disease. Empty promises and misleading propaganda will not help get us closer to the truth," Pompeo further said. (ANI)