Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said this week China’s reputation has been permanently damaged by its actions in the coronavirus pandemic.
During an interview Thursday on the Fox News program “The Story,” Rubio addressed the possibility that, as alleged in a new report, U.S. officials are investigating whether the virus escaped from a testing lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
“It would be a dramatic, earth-shattering revelation if, in fact, it turns out to be the case. And that would be the case for two reasons. Number one, [it’s] one thing that someone became infected at a lab and they infected some other people. That’s concerning that the safety standards there are not high,” Rubio said.
The possibility of a cover-up is even more troubling than China’s lax standards, he said.
“But another thing completely is that a government, when they learn of it, would actively attempt to cover it up as they have, if that’s the case,” Rubio said.
“You know, from the very beginning of this crisis, the Chinese have been less than transparent.”
Rubio made a similar comment in a Fox Business interview this week.
“If that is what happened, and we’ve got to wait and see if that is in fact what happened, there is no doubt that China will be held accountable not just by the United States but by the world,” he said.
“China covered up essential facts about this and set the world back by days and weeks in terms of its response.”
Contrasting China’s secretive ways with the open society of the United States, Rubio predicted during his interview on “The Story” that the investigation into the beginning of the virus, its reported roots in a Chinese lab and any Chinese government cover-up will result in a “tremendous global scandal, one of the most outrageous things that has happened in the modern history of the world if that were to turn out to be true.”
Rubio said China’s alleged attempts to downplay the extent of the pandemic was “reminiscent somewhat of Chernobyl,” referring to the actions by the then-Soviet government to minimize the extent of the nuclear power plant accident in Ukraine, costing it the trust of its people and nations around the world.
Some nations, particularly in Africa, are calling for China to put money in a fund for global reparations, the Florida Republican said.
“There will be some tough conversations throughout the world about what needs to be done in regards to this,” Rubio said.
“Here’s the truth: China’s reputation globally has already been badly damaged,” he said.
“There are plenty of countries out there that know exactly how China mishandled this, irrespective of whether this came out of that lab or not,” Rubio added.
“They’re not out there talking about it because their economies are not big enough take China on directly. But the damage that China has suffered to its perception around the world is in many ways irreparable.”
Rubio also discussed the fact that the pandemic has revealed to the nation that most of America’s pharmaceuticals are made in China.
“There are some things that even if they are cheaper to make somewhere else, we have to be able to make in our own country for our own security,” Rubio said, noting that he has called in the past for the U.S. to reduce its reliance on Chinese-made medicines.
The U.S. is dependent on China for 95% of ibuprofen, 70% of acetaminophen, and more than 40% of penicillin, in addition to medical devices. @MarcoRubio has introduced legislation to change that.https://t.co/Ra21CjxNAx
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 13, 2020
“The world is overly dependent upon China,” he said. “We cannot afford, from an economic and national security standpoint, to not have the industrial capacity to do things.”
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