lørdag 19. september 2020

Outgoing US ambassador to China blames Beijing for coronavirus as he heads home to help Trump

The outgoing United States Ambassador to China has denounced Beijing's initial handling of the coronavirus, saying that "what could have been contained in Wuhan ended up becoming a worldwide pandemic." Speaking to CNN in Beijing on Friday, Terry Branstad, a former longtime Iowa governor, agreed with President Donald Trump that China was to blame for the pandemic, adding that the "Chinese system was such that they covered it up and even penalized the doctors who pointed it out at the beginning."

Echoing criticisms of the Chinese Communist Party made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other White House officials, Branstad also blamed China's system for leading to a spike in tensions and a degrading of one of Washington's most consequential bilateral relationships. 

Branstad surprised many observers when he announced this week he was stepping down from the important diplomatic posting, which he has held since 2017, in order to return to the US. He told CNN that he was keen to get back home, pointing out that he had been in the role "longer than the previous three ambassadors."