US Senator Rick Scott sparked US-China coronavirus row

US-China virus row flares with senator's comments
Rick Scott said China had "decided it wanted to dominate the rest of the world". Source: Reuters
3 Min Read

Daily US Times: The row between China and the US over the origin of the coronavirus outbreak has sparked again with a US senator accusing Beijing of trying to block the development of a vaccine in the West. Senator Rick Scott said evidence had come via “our intelligence community” but he provided no details to back it up.

Meanwhile, China issued a document defending its virus actions, saying it briefed the United States as early as 4 January.

More than 400,000 people have died by the virus across the world, according to the by Johns Hopkins University. The University figure shows confirmed global infections close to the 7 million mark.

What did Rick Scott say?

The Republican senator for Florida made these comments on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. He serves on the armed services and homeland security committees among others.

“We have got to get this vaccine done. Unfortunately, we have evidence that communist China is trying to sabotage us or slow it down,” he said.

Mr Scott was pressed on the issue twice. He said: “China does not want us, and England and Europe to do it first. They’ve decided to be an adversary to America and democracies around the world.”

He has been a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump. He was questioned again, saying the “evidence” had come through the intelligence community and armed services, adding: “There are things I can’t discuss… I get provided information.”

“If England or the US does it first, we’re going to share. Communist China, they are not going to share,” he said.

What is the background to this?

The Trump administration has consistently attacked China over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

President Trump has referred to coronavirus as the ”China virus”. He also said he has proof Covid-19 originated in a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was “enormous evidence” to back the theory, which Beijing has dismissed.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was “enormous evidence” to back the theory, which Beijing has dismissed.

The Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which includes the UK and the US, said there was no such evidence, as did the World Health Organization (WHO).

US State Department pushed other members of Group of Seven following a meeting of foreign ministers on coronavirus to include the phrase ‘Wuhan Virus’ in the joint statement in the end of March. But the member countries rejected the plea, resulting in separate statements and division in the group.

A Europen diplomat said after the meeting on Wednesday: “What the State Department has suggested is a red line. You cannot agree with this branding of this virus and trying to communicate this.”

The meeting was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.