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Pompeo: China 'did all that it could to make sure the world didn't learn in a timely fashion' about coronavirus

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo says US to open embassy in the Maldives Microsoft: Iranian hacking group targeting attendees of major international security conferences American money for American ideas: Think tanks should disclose foreign funding MORE said Sunday that the Chinese government did everything it could “to make sure the world didn’t learn in a timely fashion” about the coronavirus that has sparked a global pandemic. 

Pompeo told ABC’s “This Week” that the Communist Party of China engaged in a “classic Communist disinformation effort” by silencing medical professionals and removing reporters to limit the spread of information on the virus. He said these moves “created enormous risk” and harmed hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. 

“We can confirm that the Chinese Communist Party did all that it could to make sure that the world didn't learn in a timely fashion about what was taking place,” he said.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE has been very clear. We're going to hold those responsible accountable, and we'll do so on a timeline that is our own,” he added. 

The secretary of state also said there is there is “enormous evidence” the novel coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan.

He said information on the virus would have been publicized sooner if it had been discovered in the U.S.

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“Instead, China behaved like authoritarian regimes do, attempted to conceal and hide and confuse,” he said, adding “these are the kind of things that have now presented this enormous crisis, an enormous loss of life and tremendous economic cost, all across the globe.”

The Trump administration has blamed China for its delayed response to the coronavirus, saying the country did not provide accurate information quickly enough.

Reports from China indicate that doctors who warned about the coronavirus early on were punished. Reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal were banned from the country last month.