Chinese official calls Trump demand that Beijing compensate world for coronavirus ‘preposterous’
Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Yucheng said President Trump’s call for the country to compensate the world for the coronavirus pandemic is “preposterous.”
“Those claims are preposterous; they present an out and out political farce,” Le said through an interpreter in an interview with NBC News.
A top Chinese official is lashing out after President Trump demanded China compensate the world for the coronavirus pandemic, calling it “blackmail.” @janisfrayer has the exclusive interview. pic.twitter.com/lXlWEXceMw
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) April 29, 2020
Le was responding to calls from GOP lawmakers and the president suggesting China pay reparations for being the country where the virus is believed to originate.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has previously said China will “pay the price” for what he describes as an inadequate response to the virus that negatively affected the trajectory of the pandemic in the U.S.
“First of all, asking China to make reparations — they have no legal basis,” Le said. “There is no international law that supports blaming a country for simply being the first to report a disease.”
The U.S. did not form a task force or make any significant action until more than a month after China publicly reported the first case of the virus. Since then, reports have shown that the administration ignored earlier domestic intelligence warnings about the pandemic and its economic consequences.
“The U.S. government should be aware of what’s going on in the world, but in this 50-day interval, what was the U.S. government doing?” Le asked.
Le said Americans should be confident in the figures coming from China, of which U.S. officials have expressed skepticism.
“The numbers only point to the effectiveness of China’s response efforts,” Le said. “Based on China’s experience, not China covering up.”