The G7 failed to agree on a joint statement on the coronavirus because Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted on calling it the “Wuhan virus,” The Washington Post reports.
Diplomats from the other G7 countries “rejected the term because they viewed it as needlessly divisive at a time when international cooperation is required,” three officials from the member countries told the outlet.
But Pompeo shrugged off criticism of the term, arguing that it was “important to point out that the virus came from the Chinese city of Wuhan and that China’s government had a special responsibility to warn the world about its dangers,” according to the report.
Pompeo did not deny the disagreement to the Post.
Pompeo defends term:
“Make no mistake about it, everyone in that meeting this morning was very focused on making sure that we not only solve the health crisis associated with the Wuhan virus but also the economic challenges that face the globe as we confront it as well,” the secretary of state told reporters.
The comments come after both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both discouraged using the term.
Trump and other Republicans have called it the China virus.”
China fires back:
“He has a very sinister motive,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the Associated Press, accusing Pompeo of trying to "stigmatize China and discredit China’s efforts in an attempt to divert attention and shift responsibilities.”
Pompeo argued that the virus was China’s fault.
“We’ve wanted to work with the Chinese Communist Party throughout this crisis — this crisis that began in Wuhan, China,” he told reporters. “We tried, you’ll remember, from the opening days to get our scientists, our experts on the ground there so that we could begin to assist in the global response to what began there in China, but we weren’t able to do that. The Chinese Communist Party wouldn’t permit that to happen."