US insists on blaming pandemic on ‘Wuhan virus’ at G7 meeting

Washington: Foreign ministers representing seven major industrialised nations failed to agree on a joint statement on Wednesday after the Trump administration insisted on referring to the coronavirus outbreak as the "Wuhan virus," three officials from G7 countries told The Washington Post.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.Credit:AP

Other nations in the group of world powers rejected the term because they viewed it as needlessly divisive at a time when international cooperation is required to slow the global pandemic and deal with the scarcity of medical supplies, officials said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has brushed off criticism of his use of the term, saying it's important to point out that the virus came from the Chinese city of Wuhan and that China's government had a special responsibility to warn the world about its dangers.

When asked about a report that his insistence on including the term caused a rift at the G7 meeting, Pompeo did not deny the charge but said that any disagreements among the group were tactical and not sweeping in nature.

"Make no mistake about it, everyone in that meeting this morning was very focused on making sure that we not only solve the health crisis associated with the Wuhan virus but also the economic challenges that face the globe as we confront it as well," Pompeo told reporters at the State Department.

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