04:42 GMT17 April 2021
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    Nations Ramp Up Anti-COVID-19 Measures as Global Tally Nears 4 Million (91)

    On Monday, White House Trade Policy Director Peter Navarro voiced his support for tariffs against China, claiming Beijing needs to be held “accountable” for the COVID-19 pandemic that started there last year. Meanwhile, representatives from both countries have vowed to push ahead with Phase 2 of the trade deal.

    ‘Holding China Accountable’

    Figures across US President Donald Trump’s administration and his Republican Party have unleashed a full-scale ideological assault on China as the cause of the United States’ extensive economic and medical woes, pinning the blame for the crashing US economy, tens of millions of US residents being unemployed and even the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus itself on Beijing and the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) specifically.

    “A bill has to come due for China,” Navarro told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday. “It’s not a question of punishing them, it’s a question of holding China accountable, the Chinese Communist Party accountable.”

    “They inflicted tremendous damage on the world which is still ongoing,” Navarro said. “We’re up to close to $10 trillion we’ve had to appropriate to fight this battle.”

    The day prior, during Navarro’s appearance on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” he still more fervently denounced China, claiming Beijing deliberately “seeded” the deadly COVID-19 novel coronavirus around the globe, effectively laying the blame for the pandemic on China’s shoulders.

    “President Trump built the most powerful and beautiful economy in the world in three years; the Chinese Communist Party took it down in 60 days,” the senior White House trade adviser said.

    “We know that patient zero in China was about mid-November, it was in Wuhan,” Navarro told Fox News’ Maria Batiromo. “We know that ground zero had the P4 weapons lab where the virus likely came from. For the next two months, we know China hid the virus from the world behind the shield of the World Health Organization, and as they did that, they sent the gleaming passenger jets from China - not into the rest of China from Wuhan, but to places like New York and Milan, seeding the world with what would become a pandemic.”

    Trump threatened last week to hit China with retaliatory tariffs, waffling between the trade penalties being punishment for COVID-19 or because Beijing had allegedly failed to live up to its January promise to buy $200 billion worth of US goods over the next two years, including $40 billion in agricultural goods.

    “I’m not happy with China; they could have stopped it at the source,” Trump said at a Monday news conference. When asked by a reporter what he thought about the FBI and Department of Homeland Security concluding that Chinese hackers have attempted to steal US vaccine information, Trump said, “What else is new?”

    Congress Expands Offensive on China

    Meanwhile, Republicans on Capitol Hill have launched a parallel China Task Force to probe “a broad range of China-related issues, including: influence operations targeting the US, the economic threat to our government and allies, efforts to gain the technological advantage, and China’s role in the origin and spread of COVID-19,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said in a Thursday news release.

    “As we learn more about COVID-19 one thing has become clear - China’s coverup directly led to this crisis,” McCarthy said in the release. “The Communist Party of China hid the seriousness of the disease, led a propaganda campaign blaming the US, used their supplies to exert influence, and continue to refuse international experts to investigate what happened.”

    “It follows the same threatening pattern of behavior we have seen from the Chinese Communist Party for years - something that has long-been the bipartisan consensus in Washington,” McCarthy continued. “The stakes are too high to sit idle.”

    Singling out of the Chinese Communist Party as uniquely malicious is in line with Washington’s new policy toward China. In the Indo-Pacific Strategy Report released last June, the Pentagon pointed the finger at the CCP for pushing the US into “inter-state strategic competition,” noting that “the People’s Republic of China, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, seeks to reorder the region to its advantage by leveraging military modernization, influence operations, and predatory economics to coerce other nations.”
    Nations Ramp Up Anti-COVID-19 Measures as Global Tally Nears 4 Million (91)


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    punishment, Peter Navarro, china trade deal, COVID-19, tariffs, China
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