Esper Says CCP Needs to Be More ‘Forthright’ on COVID-19 Pandemic

April 16, 2020 Updated: April 17, 2020

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on April 16 that if the Chinese regime had been more transparent about the COVID-19 earlier, the world would have developed more solutions to controlling the pandemic by this time.

“If the Chinese government, the Party, had been more transparent earlier, it would have helped us in terms of staying ahead of this virus, being able to understand its DNA, develop therapeutics and vaccines much quicker,” Esper said on the Today show.

“They need to be far more forthright than what they’ve been,” he said.

Researchers have pointed out that the genetic code of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, has undergone slight mutations since spreading from person-to-person out of Wuhan, China. They say that understanding the virus’s routes of transmission is important for further informing global public health responses.

The Defense Secretary also said that the United States is investigating whether it can believe the CCP’s denial that the virus originated from a Wuhan bio-lab.

“I find it hard to trust much of what comes out of the Chinese Communist Party,” he said, adding that the CCP has been “opaque” and misleading the world from the beginning of the outbreak.

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

The outbreak of the CCP virus started in Wuhan, a city of some 12 million, in 2019 before spreading around the world.

The Defense Secretary said that American intelligence is taking the issue very seriously and is investigating the possibility that the virus did not originate from the widely-cited wet market in Wuhan but from the nearby bio-lab.

“This is something we’ve been watching closely now for some time,” Esper said, adding that the results were “inconclusive.”

On Wednesday during the daily White House coronavirus task force briefing, President Donald Trump also shared similar thoughts and said: “more and more, we’re hearing the story.”

“We are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation that happened,” he said.

Trump declined to give details on the content of his discussions with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

The Epoch Times has recently premiered a documentary “Tracking Down the Origin of the Wuhan Coronavirus,” which includes interviews that shed light on what might have happened in Wuhan regarding the virus.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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