China’s Foreign Ministry Thursday strongly condemned comments made by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which he referred to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan” virus and claimed China has been waging a “disinformation campaign” about the epidemic.
Pompeo made the comments to reporters Wednesday on the sidelines of a videoconference with Group of Seven economic powers nations. Pompeo said the nations were united in opposing China’s coronavirus “disinformation.”
Speaking a regular news briefing in Beijing Thursday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said Pompeo insists on using the term “Wuhan virus” to stigmatize China and discredit China's efforts in an attempt to divert attention and shift responsibilities. Shuang said Pompeo “has a very sinister motive.”
Pompeo and other members of the administration, including U.S. President Donald Trump himself have frequently referred to the new coronavirus as the “Wuhan” or “China” virus. The World Health Organization and other international bodies have officially named the virus “Coronavirus disease / COVID-19.”
The use of the term became an issue during the G7 teleconference Wednesday when the U.S. insisted on using the term “Wuhan virus” in the joint statement to be issued following the meeting. Other member nations objected to the use of the term, which resulted in separate statements being issued.