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Questions can be asked of US: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-05-11 19:53
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press briefing in Washington D.C., the United States, March 5, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Instead of focusing on fighting the novel coronavirus pandemic at home and saving more lives, a number of US politicians, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, have been busy trying to promote the presumption that China is to blame for the pandemic.

The US Republican Party has even established a task force that it claims will investigate China's role in the spread of the coronavirus, a smoke-and-mirror trick that is aimed at creating the impression China bears responsibility for the tragic mess the US has made of its response to the pandemic.

By trying to pin a tag of guilt on China as the origin of the coronavirus, especially by pointing a conspiracy-orchestrating finger at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the US administration is desperately trying to avoid shouldering its responsibility for what has been a disastrously delayed and ineffective response to the pandemic.

These false accusers are well aware that the countries which first report the outbreak of a new disease are often not the source. The US, for instance, reported the first human immunodeficiency virus infections although the origin of the outbreak has been traced elsewhere.

But the US is not only trying to deflect criticism at home by trying to create the presumption that China is guilty of wrongdoing or negligence, it is also trying to dodge some pertinent questions that could be asked of it.

Such as, what are the circumstances surrounding its shutting down of the army biological warfare lab at Fort Detrick in Maryland last year? Was the laboratory conducting research on coronaviruses? Was there a leak?

And when did the first novel coronavirus infection appear in the US? US media reports indicate the first confirmed case in the US could be much earlier than it has indicated. For example, Michael Melham, the mayor of Belleville, New Jersey, said he was infected last November.

And despite being the world's largest economy with abundant medical resources and the most advanced medical technologies, the US has the largest number of confirmed infections and coronavirus-related deaths. How has that happened?

Also, the world has good reason to ask why at such a critical moment when international cooperation is so badly needed to combat the pandemic, the US suddenly suspended its funding to the World Health Organization? And why did the US refuse to participate in last week's online conference aimed at raising funds for the financing of vaccine research?

The US is posing questions so as to tar China with suspicion and blame, but until science answers the question of the origin of the novel coronavirus and what lessons should be learned from the pandemic, suspicion and blame also stick to the US.

It is morally repugnant that those US politicians engaging in such insalubrious mudslinging are actually exploiting the US administration's flawed response to US coronavirus and the misfortune it has caused in order to vilify China.

The situation in the US should remind Washington that even though it regards Beijing as a rival there ought to be a basic level of mutual trust so that they can respond to common threats.

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