Coronavirus Investigation: US Supports Australia’s Probe, Trump Blames China For ‘Mass Worldwide Killing’

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China's President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump are increasingly divided by the coronavirus pandemic
China's President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump are increasingly divided by the coronavirus pandemic AFP / Brendan Smialowski

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that the United States supports Australia’s bid for an independent investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus.

At a press conference in Washington Wednesday (Thursday AEST), Pompeo blasted China for threatening retaliation against Canberra over its plans to initiate a COVID-19 probe. Chinese Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye in April said the Chinese public may avoid using Australian products and universities because of this move. The country also hit barley producers with tariffs while also banning several beef imports.

The motion to establish a review of the pandemic has passed the World Health Assembly by unanimous vote last week. It will look into the coronavirus’ origins as well as international response. China co-sponsored the resolution.

Pompeo said the Communist Party’s move to threaten with “economic retribution" is "not right." He also noted that China has "been ruled by a brutal, authoritarian regime."

"We stand with Australia and the more than 120 nations now who have taken up the American call for an inquiry into the origins of the virus, so we can understand what went wrong and save lives now, and in the future," Pompeo said.

"We greatly underestimated the degree to which Beijing is ideologically and politically hostile to free nations … The whole world is waking up to that fact."

President Donald Trump’s perception of China has also soured the past weeks. In January, the president praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for his “efforts and transparency” in fighting COVID-19. Since then, Trump has blasted the country for its failed response and seemingly hiding data bout the virus.

On Wednesday, Trump again attacked the Communist Party, blaming its “incompetence” for the “mass worldwide killing.” As of May 21, 11:13 a.m. AEST, there are 5,084.932 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world and a global death toll of 329,719.

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