Mark Esper accuses China of ‘misleading’ world about origin of coronavirus

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper accused China Thursday of “misleading” the world about the origin of COVID-19, saying he doesn’t trust the country’s denial that the killer bug may have originated in a Wuhan lab.

“I find it hard to trust much of what comes out of the Chinese Communist Party,” Esper told the “Today” show about alarming theories that the deadly contagion actually started in a lab experimenting with diseases.

“They have been misleading us — they’ve been opaque, if you will, from the early days of this virus,” he said in a live interview from the Pentagon.

“I don’t have much faith that they’re even being truthful with us now.”

He confirmed that US intelligence has taken seriously the possibility that the pandemic did not start from animals being sold in a wet market, and that Chinese authorities could be protecting its scientists.

“This is something we’ve been watching closely now for some time,” Esper confirmed, calling the results “inconclusive.”

“We do know one thing: if the Chinese government had been more transparent earlier it would have helped us in terms of staying ahead of this virus, being able to understand its DNA, help develop therapeutics and vaccines much quicker,” he said.

He repeatedly called on China to be “more transparent.”

“This is a global pandemic — it’s going to take a global response,” he said.

“We can’t have one of the largest nations in the world hiding information or not being transparent when it comes to helping us deal with this.”

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