United States President Donald Trump on Monday said America may seek damages from China over the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which is believed to have begun at a wildlife market in Wuhan, AFP reported.
“We are not happy with China,” Trump said at a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing. “We are not happy with that whole situation because we believe it could have been stopped at the source.” The US president said there were many ways to hold China accountable. He said the US government was now carrying out some “very serious investigations”.
Trump also answered a question about a report that said Germany has sought $165 billion in damages from China. Asked if the US would be doing the same, Trump said: “We can do something much easier than that.” The president said the US may seek far greater damages. “We are talking about a lot more money than Germany’s talking about,” he said. “We haven’t determined the final amount yet. It’s very substantial. This is worldwide damage. This is damage to the US, but this is damage to the world.”
Germany’s Interior Ministry had also alleged earlier this month that Chinese diplomats approached German government officials in an attempt to encourage them to make positive statements on how Beijing is handling the pandemic, Reuters reported. “The federal government has not complied with these requests,” the Interior Ministry’s letter said.
The United States has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world – over 9,88,000 – according to the Johns Hopkins University. It has also recorded over 56,000 deaths, again the largest number globally.
Trump has frequently blamed China for the pandemic over the last few weeks. On April 20, the US president said that he wants to send a team of experts to China to investigate how the coronavirus spread from there to other countries. The previous day, he had warned Beijing of “serious consequences” if it was found responsible for the spread of Covid-19.
The United States has launched an investigation into whether the coronavirus originated in a high-security lab in Wuhan. Several conspiracy theories are circling about the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s P4 laboratory, which is equipped to handle dangerous viruses. Earlier this month, the laboratory’s director denied any link to the outbreak. Trump has also repeatedly questioned China’s transparency in handling the pandemic, accusing it of fudging data.
Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said America will make sure the entire world knows that the virus originated in China.
China has denied accusations that it did not alert global health authorities about the pandemic in time, or that it fudged information.