fredag 1. mai 2020

US intelligence agencies under pressure to link coronavirus to Chinese labs

Senior figures in the Trump administration have put pressure on US intelligence agencies to provide evidence supporting claims that the coronavirus outbreak originated in state-run laboratories in China, a report in the New York Times claims. Intelligence analysts fear Donald Trump is looking for propaganda to be used in the escalating blame game over whether China covered up the crisis or even generated the virus in its laboratories.

Trump has claimed that China’s handling of the pandemic is proof that Beijing “will do anything they can” to make him lose his re-election bid in November and told Reuters he was considering different forms of retaliation.

The Washington Post reported that high-level meetings were under way in the White House to discuss options, including suing for compensation, which would involve stripping China of “sovereign immunity” or cancelling debt obligations to China. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has repeatedly suggested that the coronavirus could have come from a virology laboratory in Wuhan, after cables surfaced from early 2018 in which US diplomats expressed concern about safety standards at the facility.