‘Not The Time For Retribution’: Pompeo Throws Cold Water On Punishing China, For Now

(Screenshot/YouTube/White House)

Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to say whether the U.S. would persue some sort of punitive action against China following reports that it falsified its data on coronavirus cases and deaths.

Both Pompeo and President Donald Trump have stopped short of openly condemning China’s handling of its outbreak in Wuhan, though Pompeo did say China had a “special responsibility” to provide accurate data to the world as quickly as possible when its outbreak first started.

“This is not the time for retribution,” he said, adding that the U.S. would look at whether China fulfilled its duty at a later date.

Pompeo also echoed Trump on whether the U.S. would freeze funding for the World Health Organization, which Trump has criticized as being too “China-centric” amid the pandemic. (RELATED: Top WHO Official Won Election With China’s Help)

The U.S. intelligence community had reportedly concluded by mid-March that China was actively falsifying its coronavirus cases and death numbers during and after the outbreak in Wuhan. The official statistics say just over 2,500 people died of the virus in the city of 11 million, but new reports suggest the true number is over 40,000.

Reporters arrived at the number based on the output of burial urns from the city’s eight mortuaries, which sent out roughly 3,500 total per day between March 23 and April 4. (RELATED: The CIA Is Trying To Find China’s Real Coronavirus Numbers)

The WHO has consistently repeated China’s data and praised its response to the virus.