US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched an extraordinary attack on the World Health Organization at a private meeting in the UK, accusing it of being in China’s pocket and responsible for “Dead Britons »Who died during the pandemic.
Pompeo told those present that he believed the WHO was “a political, not a scientific organization” and accused its current director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of being too close to Beijing.
Those in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting said Pompeo told his audience of 20 MPs and peers that he was saying “on a solid intelligence base a deal has been made” with China to allow Tedros to win the elections. elections in 2017.
The Secretary of State went on to say that “when it comes down to it you have Brits dead because of the deal that was made” – without providing further details.
Reacting to the remarks, a spokesperson for the organization said: “WHO is not aware of any such statement, but we strongly reject any ad hominem attack and unfounded allegation. WHO urges countries to remain focused on tackling the pandemic which is causing tragic loss of life and suffering. “
His remarks at the meeting hosted by the Henry Jackson Society think tank came in response to a question from Chris Bryant, one of two Labor MPs in an otherwise Tory-dominated meeting, which had him challenged over the Trump administration’s repeated decisions to leave multilateral organizations. .
Some believed Pompeo was trying to encourage those in attendance to push for the UK to consider joining the US, although Bryant said his partisan message did not impress him. “He didn’t say anything we liked.”
Earlier this month, the United States formally notified the World Health Organization of its resignation, despite widespread criticism and an almost complete lack of international support for the move amid a pandemic.
It capped a string of attacks Donald Trump had launched against the organization, although they come at a time when the number of new cases of the coronavirus continues to rise across the United States.
The United States has more than 3.8 million coronavirus cases and more than 140,000 deaths from Covid-19, making it by far the most affected country in the world. More than 60,000 new cases were recorded on Monday, about four times the figure for all of Europe.
The Secretary of State also said he was “confident that intelligence has been shared” with the UK on the persecution of Uyghur Muslims in China, which would allow the UK to implement sanctions against them. Chinese Communist Party officials in response to a question from the Conservatives. Nusrat Ghani.
Ghani had called on Dominic Raab to act earlier this week and apply sanctions against Chinese officials in Xinjiang province, but the matter was evaded by the British Foreign Secretary.
Pompeo’s attack came just before having a half-hour meeting with the PM at No.10. Sources in Downing Street said the specific issue of sanctions had not been raised – but the treatment of the Uyghur people was discussed.
Johnson and Pompeo also spoke about how the United States and the United Kingdom could cooperate on the development of next-generation technology, to avoid a situation where a Chinese state-owned company such as Huawei manages to dominate the market.
The United States has accused Huawei of achieving its almost unassailable position in part through the theft of intellectual property.
Hours after meeting Johnson, the Secretary of State hailed the UK government’s decision to remove Huawei from the UK’s 5G network, as he urged like-minded countries to ‘push back’ Beijing’s actions in of a press conference.
Speaking alongside Foreign Minister Dominic Raab after the two met, Pompeo launched a firmly worded attack on China, including on the Covid-19 pandemic, which he called “Preventable”.
“The Chinese Communist Party’s exploitation of this pandemic to pursue its own goals has been shameful,” Pompeo said. “Rather than helping the world, Secretary General Xi [Jinping] showed the world the true face of the party.
U.S. relations with Beijing deteriorated significantly during Donald Trump’s presidency.
The UK government had come under significant pressure from Washington, as well as Tory backbenchers, over Huawei’s role, and announced last week that it would kick the Chinese provider of the 5G network by 2027.
Pompeo hailed the move and the suspension of the UK’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong, which Raab announced on Monday.
The UK has also pledged that up to 3 million Hong Kong residents will be offered the opportunity to settle in the UK and a path to permanent citizenship. “We support these sovereign choices: we think, well done,” Pompeo said.
Criticizing China’s actions in a variety of areas, he said, “You cannot go and claim maritime regions over which you have no legal claim. You cannot threaten countries and intimidate them in the Himalayas. You cannot engage in cover-ups and co-opt international institutions like the World Health Organization. “
When asked if he wanted to see the UK go further, he said: ‘We want to see every nation that understands freedom and democracy and values that, and knows it’s important to them. own people, for their own sovereign country, to understand the threat posed to them by the Chinese Communist Party and to work both themselves and collectively to restore what is rightfully ours.
He added: “It is not a question of language, it is not a question of words; we want every nation to work together to push back the efforts of the Chinese Communist Party in all the dimensions I mentioned today.
Trump has been embroiled in a high-stakes trade war with China for months over allegations of industrial espionage and currency manipulation.
But in recent weeks, Washington has also imposed sanctions on high-level Chinese officials for human rights violations against the Uyghur Muslim minority in the western Xinjiang region.
Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming defended his country’s human rights record on Sunday, insisting that the Uyghur people live in “peaceful and harmonious coexistence with other ethnic groups” , as he was confronted with images of chained prisoners parked on trains.