Mike Pompeo slams WHO for 'bending a knee' to Xi Jinping as investigation dismisses Covid-19 lab leak theory
The WHO said that there was not enough evidence to support a hypothesis that the virus escaped from the Chinese biosafety laboratory in Wuhan
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took to Fox News Channel’s 'America’s Newsroom' to cast doubt over the World Health Organization's (WHO) findings that it was "extremely unlikely" that Covid-19 leaked from the Wuhan laboratory in China. The global health body's statement comes after the close of an investigation on the origins of the virus. WHO also said they would no longer pursue research into whether the coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology [WIV] in Wuhan, China.
However, Pompeo said “not a thing” has changed his belief that the virus originated in the Wuhan lab because “there was significant evidence”. Calling WHO "corrupt", he told the channel: “I must say the reason we left the World Health Organization was because we came to believe that it was corrupt. It had been politicized. It was bending a knee to General Secretary Xi Jinping in China". The channel posted the clip of the interview on Twitter.
He added that while he looked forward to "seeing their reports and analysis", he doesn't believe WHO officials got the "access they needed".
"I hope that they got to see all the data and science, into the lab, talk to the doctors, interview them … in private in places where they could actually tell the truth about what took place, not under the supervision of a communist party person sitting in the back of the room making sure that they toed the communist party line. So, I look forward to seeing their results. I continue to know there was significant evidence, Bill, that this may well have come from that laboratory,” Pompeo said about WHO's fact-finding mission in China.
When co-host Bill Hemmer asked Pompeo one final time, "so, nothing has changed in your view that it came from the lab?”, Pompeo replied, “Not a thing”.
Pompeo also commented on Biden's China policy saying the administration should judge the Chinese Communist Party on its "real actions", including against their own citizens or abroad in Taiwan rather than believe the propaganda it is putting out there.
Earlier, in January, Pompeo had revealed "US intel" about the virus, right after the WHO team of international Covid researchers arrived in Wuhan. The intel implicated the lab, according to Pompeo, who said it revealed that researchers at the lab fell ill in the fall of 2019 with symptoms consistent with Covid-19.
The scientists there were also allegedly working with a bat coronavirus RaTG13 that is 96.2 percent similar genetically to the virus that causes COVID, and the lab reportedly has secret links to the Chinese military.
Though the Wuhan lab has a published record of conducting 'gain-of-function' research on virus to enhance their lethality or transmissibility, the State Department had said the lab had "not been transparent or consistent about its record of studying viruses most similar to the COVID-19 virus, including RaTG13."
"The WIV [Wuhan Institute of Virology] has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017," Pompeo had said. Experts have repeatedly dismissed the notion that the Covid-19 virus was man-made, and Pompeo has also not suggested that the virus was intentionally engineered or released on purpose.
Instead, he has raised the possibility that it was a natural virus that had accidentally escaped from the lab through sloppy safety protocols. "Accidental infections in labs have caused several previous virus outbreaks in China and elsewhere, including a 2004 SARS outbreak in Beijing that infected nine people, killing one," the State Department under him had said in a briefing document.
Peter Ben Embarek, food safety and animal diseases expert with WHO, was at the press conference to announce the results of the ground zero investigations into the Wuhan lab. He said there was not enough evidence to support a hypothesis that the virus escaped from a Chinese biosafety laboratory in Wuhan – the Wuhan Institute of Virology – and that the WHO stood by its previous determination that COVID-19 most likely entered the human population through an intermediate animal.
China of late has also been new theories about the virus’s beginnings, pointing to the virus originating in the US or Italy. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian for instance in a tweet suggested that the coronavirus first sprang up in the United States.
2/2 CDC was caught on the spot. When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation! pic.twitter.com/vYNZRFPWo3— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) March 12, 2020
According to Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, DC, “when it sees opportunities, China moves to exploit them and we are in a moment where the Chinese definitely see opportunities." After the US suspended funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), China pledged an additional $30 million in funding to the WHO, which has given China even more influence in the global health agency and a chance to promote itself as a champion of the "principle of multilateralism".
According to Glaser, the pause in US funding to WHO was a "gift from the Trump administration” to China, who took advantage of this by stepping into a leadership position within the organization.