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US health chief slams China over virus on Taiwan trip

AFP
Taipei
The coronavirus might have been stamped out more quickly had it emerged in democratic Taiwan instead of autocratic China, the US health secretary said Tuesday during a historic diplomatic trip to Taipei.
Alex Azar’s renewed criticism of China’s handling of the pandemic is likely to further stoke already fiery tensions between the United States and China, where the disease first appeared late last year.
The two powers are clashing over a wide range of trade, military and security issues, as well as the pandemic.
“The Chinese Communist Party had the chance to warn the world and work with the world on battling the virus. But they chose not to, and the costs of that choice mount higher every day,” Azar said in a speech at a public health college.
“I believe it is no exaggeration to say that, if this virus had emerged in a place like Taiwan or the United States, it might have been snuffled out easily,” he added.