White House Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro is again accusing China of creating the virus that unleashed the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, but won’t assert unequivocally that it was done on purpose.
“China created this pandemic,” he told Jake Tapper, host of CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “They hid the virus. They created that virus, and they sent over hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens here to spread that around and around the world. Whether they did that on purpose, that’s an open question,” Navarro said, prompting Tapper to ask him to clarify what he meant by using the word “spawned.”
“You did not hear me wrong,” Navarro said. “That virus was a product of the Chinese Communist Party, and until we get some information about what happened in those labs what, or what happened in that wet market, we know that virus was spawned in China. That is what I mean: Spawned in China.”
Navarro pointed to a prediction he made in a book he wrote in 2006 predicting that the secretive, authoritarian regime had the motive and means to spawn a viral, worldwide pandemic.
“I’ll tell you this: In 2006 in a book I wrote, The Coming China Wars, on page 150, I predicted that China would create a viral pandemic that could possibly kill millions,” Navarro said. “Why did I do that at the time? Because the whole structure of that authoritarian, repressive, nontransparent society is geared towards giving us exactly what they’ve given us, which is a pandemic.”
He challenged China to present information disproving his claims. “Guilty until proven innocent; that’s my assessment,” he said. “That’s an open question. Roll the tape back. What I said is that virus came out of China. The Chinese Communist Party is responsible for it.”
In April Navarro made a similar accusation on FOX Business Network’s Sunday Morning Futures. “The Chinese communist party basically inflicted this virus on the world. And we should never forget that here in America,” he said.
He blamed China for flooding the United States with faulty coronavirus antibody testing kits. He also accused the Chinese Communist Party of profiteering from the pandemic. The White House adviser serves as coordinator for the Defense Production Act.
“For a critical six-week period of time, China used its influence at the World Health Organization to hide the virus from the world. This was a time where that virus could have been contained in Wuhan. Instead, five million Chinese people went out from Wuhan and propagated the virus around the world,” Navarro said.
He accused China of hiding the virus behind the shield of the World Health Organization while “basically hoarding personal protective equipment, and now they are profiteering from it.”
“They basically went around and vacuumed up virtually all of the PPE around the world, including a lot from this country, which was, for humanitarian reasons, sharing our PPE with them,” he said. “And what that did was leave people in New York, Milan, and everywhere in between defenseless when it came time to have that PPE.”
“One of the things that’s on my radar though that’s really troublesome is there is a lot of these antibody tests coming in from China now that are low quality, false readings and things like that,” said Navarro on Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends. “We’ve got to be really careful.”
“China spun that virus. They hid it for six weeks. They could have contained it in Wuhan. They didn’t,” said Navarro. “They seeded the world with this, with hundreds of thousands of Chinese getting on aircraft to Milan, to New York and other places.”
China’s state-run Xinhua News bragged in March, “Be bold: The World owes China thank you.” The writer suggested that if China imposes restrictions on pharmaceutical exports to America it would be “plunged into the mighty sea of coronavirus.”
COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan after a contentious two-year trade war with the U.S. was nearing resolution with a humiliating loss for China. A deal to begin phase one of an anticipated two-part agreement with the Trump administration had just been signed on January 15, when the virus began to spread.
President Donald Trump had announced that the U.S. and China are “writing the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security for American workers, farmers and families.” He said the deal had “total and full enforceability.”
It included a “dramatic expansion of U.S. food, agriculture and seafood product exports” as well as an agreement by China to end its long-standing practice of forcing or pressuring foreign companies to transfer their technologies to Chinese companies,
It also reiterated U.S. opposition to currency manipulation and codified China’s commitment to buy at least $200 billion in U.S. exports over two years, including manufactured goods, food, agricultural, energy products and services.
The White House had expectations that Beijing would buy about $80 billion in manufactured goods, $53 billion in energy, $32 billion in agriculture and $35 billion in services.
The reshuffling of the global economic power structure and the Phase one purchase agreements pushed China from the U.S.’s third-biggest trading partner after Canada and Mexico to the top spot. The world’s major economies are reeling because of the coronavirus pandemic. The World Bank predicts China could hit one percent growth this year.