The latest meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) countries has ended in disarray because of attempts by the United States to include language in a draft final statement that linked the new coronavirus to China.
According to Press TV, the COVID-19 disease, caused by the new coronavirus, emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and is currently affecting 198 countries and territories across the globe. It has so far affected more than 471,000 people and killed over 21,200 others.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.
Although the WHO has officially named the infectious disease COVID-19, and the virus SARS-CoV-2, a 12-paragraph draft statement circulated by the US among the G7 ministers during a meeting on Wednesday referred to it as the “Wuhan Virus,” CNN reported, citing an unnamed European diplomat.
“What the US State Department has suggested is a red line. You cannot agree with this branding of this virus and trying to communicate this,” the diplomat said, adding that such branding would have blamed China for the pandemic’s spread.
The six other members of the G7, namely the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Canada, rejected the US characterization and no joint statement was produced.
Several of the members put out their own statements at the end of the meeting, which was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A French statement about the meeting referred to the outbreak as the “COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Western media, particularly those in the US, has been criticizing the Chinese government for what they have called a slow response to the outbreak. Outlets even accused Beijing of a cover-up in the early stages of the epidemic. US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have in public remarks attempted to blame China, as well.