- Mike Pompeo has said that the World Health Organisation ‘s director-general was “bought by the Chinese government.”
- The US Secretary of State made the claim in a private meeting with UK members of Parliament on Tuesday.
- Pompeo said the WHO was a “political, not science-based organisation,” according to two reports.
- He added that this alleged deal led to “dead Britons” in the COVID-19 crisis.
- A WHO spokesperson described the allegations as “unfounded.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly claimed that the head of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, had been secretly “bought” by China, in comments to UK politicians.
Pompeo, who is visiting the UK this week, reportedly made the remarks in a private meeting with British members of Parliament in London on Tuesday, according to the The Daily Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian.
Pompeo said that he had seen US intelligence showing Ghebreyesus was “bought by the Chinese government” in a deal to secure the job.
Pompeo reportedly said: “When push came to shove, when it really mattered to us, when there was a pandemic in China, Dr Tedros — who was hook line and sinker bought by the Chinese government — and I can’t say more but I can tell you I’m saying this on informed intelligence.
“There was a deal made in the election and when push came to shove you’ve got dead Britons because of the deal that was made.”
He went on to say that the WHO was “a political, not a science-based organisation,” but did not provide evidence to support his claim China had “bought” its current director-general, Doctor Ghebreyesus, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
A spokesperson for the organisation told Business Insider: “WHO is not aware of any such statement but we strongly reject any ad hominem attacks and unfounded allegations. WHO urges countries to remain focused on tackling the pandemic that is causing tragic loss of life and suffering.”
President Donald Trump has been a vocal critic of the WHO since the coronavirus outbreak.
In May, he announced that the US was “terminating” its relationship with the global health body and said Beijing had “total control over” it. He also claimed that China pressured the WHO to “mislead the world” when the virus was first found in Wuhan.
Pompeo visited the UK after Boris Johnson’s government last week announced that it would remove Chinese telecoms firm Huawei from UK 5G networks by the year 2027 amid concerns over potential risks to national security.
It was tough US sanctions on Huawei that led the UK government to change its position on Huawei, after previously agreeing to let the firm the build the UK’s 5G, with a spokesperson for Prime Minister Johnson last week describing them as a “game-changer.”
Pompeo on Tuesday held meetings with Johnson and UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
His visit is also seen as a US effort to persuade the UK and other European allies to take a tougher stance against Beijing amid global outrage over human rights breaches both in Hong Kong and against Uighurs in China.
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