Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian called U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a “lying blabbermouth” during a press conference Monday.
Zhao offered his criticism of Pompeo in response to a CNN reporter’s question regarding recent remarks by Pompeo. The reported noted Pompeo had backtracked from previous claims regarding the origin of the coronavirus, but still assessed China had not been transparent about the virus from the start, according to a readout of the spokesman’s press conference remarks, shared by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
“US Secretary of State Pompeo said in an interview yesterday that while the US government believes the virus came from Wuhan, now he is not exactly sure where it came from,” the CNN reporter began. “That said, he still believes China is not open and transparent enough, and the US will still take countermeasures against the Chinese government’s response. Could you comment on that?”
“This US politician has been a lying blabbermouth,” Zhao replied. “It’s a waste of time to comment on his fabrications.”
The CNN reporter’s question appeared to allude to a Saturday Breitbart News interview with Pompeo. He did not suggest the coronavirus’ origin was completely unknown.
“We know it began in Wuhan,” Pompeo said, “but we don’t know from where or from whom, and those are important things.”
Pompeo has, however, suggested there is “enormous evidence” linking the coronavirus outbreak to a laboratory in Wuhan. While the lab theory remains unproven, the prevailing outbreak theory suggests the virus began in a Wuhan live animal market.
Moments earlier in the Breitbart interview, Pompeo noted “we have repeatedly asked to have teams go in to assist them in identifying where the virus originated.”
Pompeo took a veiled jab at China in another set of recent remarks during a May 13 visit to Israel.
“You’re a great partner,” he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “You share information, unlike some other countries that try and obfuscate and hide that information, and we’ll talk about that country, too, some.”
Days later the Chinese Embassy in Israel published its own response to Pompeo’s comments, in an opinion article shared with the Jerusalem Post.
“Before and after his visit to Israel, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made some absurd comments on China, which can be summarized into three ill-intentioned accusations, namely, ‘the origin of Coronavirus is China,’ ‘China hid the information of COVID-19’ and ‘China’s investments are threats,’” the embassy’s opinion article reads.