US official: ‘No knowledge’ of mask shipment that sparked ‘piracy’ claim

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The U.S. had “no knowledge” about the mask shipment that led a German official to accuse the country of “piracy,” a spokeswoman from the U.S. Embassy in Thailand said Monday, according to Reuters

Jillian Bonnardeaux, the spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, was responding to Berlin Secretary of Interior Andreas Geisel’s Friday allegations that the U.S. government confiscated a mask shipment in Bangkok heading to Germany.

“The United States Government did not take any action to divert any 3M supplies that were destined to Germany nor did we have any knowledge of such a shipment,” Bonnardeaux told Reuters.

“We remain concerned about pervasive attempts to divide international efforts through unsourced, unattributed disinformation campaigns,” she added.

Geisel originally said the shipment of 200,000 masks was diverted to the U.S. after being taken in Thailand. He called it “an act of modern piracy.”

“This is not how you deal with transatlantic partners,” he had said last week. “Even in times of global crisis, Wild West methods shouldn’t rule.”

But Geisel’s office walked back his comments Saturday, saying it was trying to figure out how the masks ordered from a German wholesaler had been diverted. The masks in question came from U.S. manufacturing firm 3M. 

President Trump said on Saturday that “there has been no act of piracy.”

3M said in a statement on Sunday that the company did not have evidence its products were taken.

Several allies of the United States, including some from Europe and South America, have said the U.S. is utilizing “Wild West” tactics to outbid or block shipments to original buyers. 

Worldwide, more than 1.3 million people have been diagnosed with coronavirus, leading to at least 73,703 deaths and at least 275,832 recoveries, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

–This report was updated at 3:55 p.m.

Tags 3M Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Germany medical masks medical supplies Piracy Thailand
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