Pompeo calls China’s newest coronavirus aid pledge 'paltry' given the number of lives lost worldwide

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized China’s pledge of $2 billion to fight the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, calling it “paltry” in a Wednesday press briefing.

“This plague has cost roughly 90,000 American lives. More than 36 million Americans have lost their job since March. Globally, 300,000 lives,” Pompeo said.

He added that the cost of the pandemic imposed on the world by “failures” of the Chinese government “could be as much as around $9 trillion, according to our estimates.”

In the World Health Assembly Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jingping said that China will provide the equivalent of $2 billion to assist with economic and social development and will target developing countries most affected by the pandemic.

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The United States has provided $10 billion in international coronavirus relief for vaccine research and humanitarian aid, according to the secretary of state.

“That’s compared to a promise of $2 billion from the Chinese," said Pompeo. "I look forward to seeing them fulfill that $2 billion commitment."

Pompeo also rejected China’s claim of “openness” and “transparency” after the virus broke out in Wuhan, China.

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“I wish it were so. It’s been 142 days since doctors at Wuhan Central Hospital first started sharing information about a SARS-like virus,” Pompeo told the State Department press briefing.

“And yet, today … Beijing continues to deny investigators access to relevant facilities, to withhold live virus samples, to censor discussion of the pandemic within China, and much, much more.”

U.S.-China relations have been strained for weeks.

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President Donald Trump, who first praised China’s response to the virus, has condemned their unwillingness to allow outside investigators into a lab located near Wuhan – where some suspect the virus may have originated.

“If the Chinese Communist Party wants to demonstrate real openness, real transparency, it could easily hold press conferences, like this very press conference, and allow reporters to ask him anything that they would like,” Pompeo said Wednesday.