US-China Virus Row Flares With Senator’s Comments

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US-China Virus Row Flares With Senator’s Comments

The row between the US and China over the coronavirus outbreak has flared again with a US senator accusing Beijing of trying to block the development of a vaccine in the West.

Rick Scott said evidence had come via “our intelligence community” but provided no details to back it up.

China meanwhile issued a document defending its virus actions, saying it briefed the US as early as 4 January.

Deaths caused by the virus passed 400,000 worldwide on Sunday.

The figure is provided in a count by Johns Hopkins University, which also shows confirmed global infections close to the 7 million mark.

What did Rick Scott say?

The Republican senator for Florida, who serves on the armed services and homeland security committees among others, was speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

He said: “We have got to get this vaccine done. Unfortunately we have evidence that communist China is trying to sabotage us or slow it down.”

Mr Scott was pressed on the issue twice. He said: “China does not want us, and England and Europe to do it first. They’ve decided to be an adversary to America and democracies around the world.”

Mr Scott, who has been a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, was questioned again, saying the “evidence” had come through the intelligence community and armed services, adding: “There are things I can’t discuss… I get provided information.”

He said if “England or the US does it first, we’re going to share. Communist China, they are not going to share.”

What is the background to this?

The Trump administration has consistently attacked China over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which includes the UK and the US, said there was no such evidence, as did the World Health Organization (WHO).

https://www.bbc.com

 

But the WHO is another point of contention for Mr Trump’s administration. It has pulled out of the body, accusing it of being China’s puppet.

Mr Trump accused Chinese officials of covering up the virus early on and saying they could have stopped the disease from spreading.

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This week he threatened to bar passenger flights from China from 16 June, after which Beijing said it would loosen restrictions on international air travel.

Then there is the backdrop of the US-China trade dispute, which saw the imposition of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of tariffs on each another’s goods.

US-China Virus Row Flares With Senator’s Comments

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