US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo lashed out at China for making “empty promises” during the China-Africa summit in June and said that Chinese President Xi Jinping “failed to promise real transparency and accountability” for Beijing’s role in “unleashing” the deadly coronavirus, which has infected over nine million people globally.
“At last week’s China-Africa Summit, we, unfortunately, saw more empty promises and tired platitudes from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). While President Xi said, ‘we must always put our people and their lives front and centre’. He failed to promise real transparency and accountability for China’s role in unleashing this deadly virus,” Pompeo said.
He added: “He was not putting lives front and centre when the CCP hid the truth about COVID-19 from the world until it was too late, and now we continue to suffer through the disastrous results of those actions.”
On many occasions, US President Donald Trump has blamed China for allowing the coronavirus to spread across the world. He has also referred to it as ‘Chinese virus’.
Pompeo said that America continues to stand with its partners across Africa in confronting the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have invested more than USD 100 billion in public health sectors in sub-Saharan Africa over the last 20 years and more than USD 360 million in COVID-19 response so far. This is what a long-term partner committed to building a healthier and more prosperous Africa looks like,” he said.
He said that the US noted China’s stated commitment to implement the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), “as it is no secret China is by far the largest bilateral creditor to African governments, creating an unsustainable debt burden”.
Pompeo said that the CCP needs to move beyond “vague public statements” and start to “fully and transparently” implement the DSSI in accordance with its G20 commitments.
“The US remains Africa’s most committed partner in promoting transparency and combatting the scourge of infectious disease. Empty promises and misleading propaganda will not help get us closer to the truth,” he added.