U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo reacts to China

 

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo warned his Chinese counterpart against spreading rumors regarding the coronavirus. U.S. Secretary of State Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus stated that Secretary Pompeo strongly opposed China’s statement that the coronavirus originated in the United States. 

“The Secretary stressed that this is not the time to spread disinformation and outlandish rumors, but rather a time for all nations to come together to fight this common threat,” Spokesperson Ortagus said in a readout of the call.

Additionally, before this statement, Secretary Pompeo posted on Twitter that the Chinese government is spreading false information and outlandish rumors.

“Spoke today with Director  Jiechi about disinformation and outlandish rumors that are being spread through official PRC channels,” Secretary Pompeo added.

A diplomatic note to China

State Department official confronts China’s ambassador about disinformation and announced that the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S.  was summoned and has been given a diplomatic note. Though he avoided making any comments, Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai has met with Deputy Secretary David Stillwell.

In addition, National Security Council Advisor Robert O’Brien claimed that an initial cover-up of the coronavirus in China “cost the world community two months” and exacerbated the global outbreak. A week ago at Heritage Foundation, O’Brien also added, “I think we could have dramatically curtailed what happened in China and what’s now happening across the world.”

Former Air Force General Rob Spalding also had an interview at TRT World and stated that “It is a pattern of propaganda that the Chinese Communist Party executes daily and  Clearly, they know that this was not originated by the U.S. Army. The army was not in Wuhan. The Chinese have pretty strict border control . . . .”

What Happened?

While the coronavirus is assumed to have spread from a wild animal market in Wuhan city of Hubei Province, China, the use of the term “Wuhan virus” by U.S. officials in recent days drew the attention of Chinese officials. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian claimed in a tweet that “the U.S. army could be behind the virus.”

The Chinese Government has started pointing at the U.S. as the cause of the coronavirus outbreak. Chinese authorities have recently protested U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo for calling the virus the “Wuhan virus” and President Trump for claiming the virus is an “outbreak that originated from China.”

U.S. Officials: We fully support Turkey

Successive messages of support came from the U.S. to Turkey after the treacherous attacks on Idlib by the Assad regime. Kelly Craft, the Permanent Representative of the US to the UN, said, “We support Turkey’s right to retaliate against the illegitimate attacks that resulted in soldiers’ deaths.”

At the emergency meeting organized by the UNSecurity Council, Craft spoke about growing tension in Idlib.

Evaluating the attack against Turkish soldiers in Idlib yesterday, which resulted in 33 martyrs, Kelly Craft stated, “The US strongly condemns the attack on Turkish troops yesterday. These attacks are completely illegitimate, meaningless, and barbaric.”

Craft, who also sent condolences to the families and relatives of the soldiers who were killed in the attack, said, “The US will not hesitate to continue its commitment to its NATO ally Turkey. We support Turkey’s right to retaliate against these illegitimate attacks on the observation posts that resulted in soldiers’ deaths.”

“HOW MANY MORE BABIES MUST FREEZE TO DEATH?”

Kelly Craft called for an urgent, permanent, and verifiable ceasefire in Northwest Syria, stating, “We call on Russia to urgently ground their warplanes. We also invite Syrian forces and their supporter Russia to retreat to the ceasefire borders set in 2018.”

Pointing to the humanitarian situation in Syria, Craft said, “I’m going to ask you again, are we going to sit back and watch? Are we going to remain silent? Or will we deliver? How many more babies have to freeze to death before we raise our voices and say, “Enough!”

“THE ASSAD REGIME, RUSSIA, AND IRAN MUST END THEIR ATTACKS”

Secretary Pompeo issued a written statement about the attack on Turkish soldiers by the Russian-backed Assad regime in Idlib.

Stressing that he is on Turkey’s side, Pompeo described the attacks as “despicable and shameless” and said, “We send our condolences to the Turkish state for the soldiers who lost their lives. The US condemns this attack as strongly as possible.”

"THE ATTACKS MUST END"

Pompeo also called on the Assad regime and its supporters to stop their attacks on Idlib, stating, “these actions by the Assad regime, Russia, the Iranian regime, and Hezbollah directly prevent a ceasefire in Northern Syria. The attacks must end, humanitarian access must be granted, and a political solution must be developed in accordance with UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2254.”

Pompeo also noted that the US is in touch with Turkey for preventing and alleviating the human suffering caused by “the regime and the Russian brutality,” and that they are evaluating possible ways to support Turkey.

Pompeo said that they would do their best to proclaim a truce across Syria, including in Idlib, as well as do their best to prevent the reintegration of the Assad regime into the international community until the regime fully complies with the UNSCR decision.

A SOLIDARITY STATEMENT FROM THE US TO TURKEY REGARDING THE IDLIB ISSUE

The US Department of State has announced that it has evaluated the fastest way to help Turkey regarding the current situation in Idlib.

The spokesperson of the State Department stated that intelligence sharing is currently active between the US and Turkey. It was also stated that they are discussing the fastest way to help Turkey in Idlib.

On the other hand, the spokesperson also noted that the attacks carried out in Idlib was a product of the close relationship between the regime and Russia. It was also noted that the regime couldn’t carry out any airstrikes without the support and approval of Russia.

NSC Advisor O'Brien: "Assad is a very bad actor"

 

Atlantic Council's Scowcroft Center hosted U.S. National Security Council Advisor Ambassador Robert O'Brien,Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs for a "View from the West Wing" conversation about both national security and the process for managing the National Security Council in our turbulent time.

President of Atlantic Council, Fred Kempe, and Former National Security Advisor Steven Heydemann made opening remarks and CBS News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent and Face the Nation Moderator Margaret Brennen moderated the program.

"Assad is a very bad actor,Iranians who are up to their ears are terrible actors,the Russians are not helping the situation, and Turks are not helping the situation. Erdogan and Putin, who have an interesting relationship, sometimes they are the best of friends and sometimes they are not. It is really up to them to work that situation out," Ambassador O'Brien said.

Margaret Brennan asked Ambassador O'Brien what the U.S. is doing about the violence in Idlib, Syria. "I do not think we are going to intervene militarily in Idlib to straighten out that bad situation,What are we supposed to do to stop them? We're supposed to be a global policeman and hold up a sign and say stop this Turkey, stop this Russia?" Ambassador O'Brien said.

U.S.-China Relations:

Ambassador Robert O'Brien admitted that the Chinese Government promised purchases under the Phase 1 trade deal will be reduced as a result of the growing health emergency.

"This could have an impact on phase one deal. It's not going to change the phase one deal. It's just we expect that is part of the phase one deal. China will expend more money on U.S. agricultural products. And we'll have to see how that plays out, "Ambassador O'Brien said.

Ambassador O'Brien said:" We've offered American doctors and experts to China to assist with coronavirus, but the offer has not yet been accepted."

He also highlighted that the U.S. would like to see North Korea its Singapore Summit commitments, and they are open for another summit If there's an opportunity to make progress.

Ambassador O'Brien believes that It's time for America to come home, and we wanted to come back under conditions that keep in place protections for our colleagues and our partners in Afghanistan. We want to make sure Afghanistan doesn't become a safe-haven for terrorism again."

Restructuring NSC

In his address, U.S. National Security Advisor Robert reported that the National Security Council was in the final stages of a reorganization that would get it "back to a manageable size. In the last five months of the Trump Administration, White House National Security Council has shrunk from over 175 policy staffers to 115 staffers. He also explained how NSC is working under his leadership.

Regarding the recent Philippines decision ending its military cooperation agreement with the United States, Ambassador O'Brien said that the United States would remain a strong partner in the Philippines. We are there to help the Philippines."

Pictures taken by Ali Cinar,Atlantic Council

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