Foreign ministers representing seven major industrialized nations failed to agree on a joint statement Wednesday after the Trump administration insisted on referring to the coronavirus outbreak as the “Wuhan virus,” three officials from G-7 countries told The Washington Post.
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 Group of Seven 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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have discouraged referring to the novel coronavirus by a geographical denomination amid concerns such terms are correlated with a rise in discrimination and targeted violence against Asian Americans. [Continue reading…]