The Trump administration is planning to punish the Chinese Communist Party for its perceived role in the coronavirus pandemic — including possible sanctions and cancellation of US debt, according to a new report.
Other potential measures to be taken against Beijing by the Trump administration include the creation of new trade policies, several sources close to the matter told CNN.
“We have to get the economy going again, we have to be careful about how we do this,” one unidentified administration official said. “But we will find ways to show the Chinese that their actions are completely reprehensible.”
The US intelligence community is facing “enormous pressure” from the White House to determine whether the virus emanated from a lab in the city of Wuhan, two sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN.
Trump, meanwhile, told reporters Thursday that he’s seen evidence linking the coronavirus to the Wuhan lab, but failed to elaborate, saying: “I can’t tell you that. I am not allowed to tell you that.”
The US intelligence community, however, released a statement earlier Thursday indicating that it agreed with the scientific consensus that the virus isn’t “manmade” or genetically modified.
But the statement — released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — also noted that the US is probing whether the outbreak started from an “accident” at the Wuhan laboratory.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, said Wednesday that US officials still have not been allowed to inspect the site.
“We don’t know precisely where this virus originated from. There are multiple labs that are continuing to conduct work, we think — continue on contagious pathogens inside of China today and we don’t know if they are operating at a level of security to prevent this from happening again.”
In response to Pompeo, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday there’s no evidence to back up “baseless” allegations connected to the lab.
China has also launched a propaganda effort to distract from its own culpability, including blaming US soldiers for importing the pathogen in remarks that infuriated Trump, CNN reports.