GOP congressman calls on Blinken to demand COVID reparations from China
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In a Tuesday evening letter, Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., asked Blinken why he has yet to "commit to punishing China for its role in the pandemic?"
Banks urged the State Department to seek damages from China and bring the case in front of the International Court of Justice, seated in The Hague.
The Chairman’s letter followed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) anticipated report on the origins of the coronavirus, which suggested the virus began by transmitting from one animal to another, but left the actual origins of the virus unclear.
The White House condemned the report saying it lacked "transparency" and "crucial data, information, and access," press secretary Jen Psaki said following the report’s release Tuesday. "It represents a partial and incomplete picture."
The Biden administration has criticized China’s unwillingness to allow for a thorough investigation into whether or not the virus was leaked from a Wuhan lab -- as some have speculated since the onslaught of the pandemic, which has killed over 2.8 million people and infected more than 128.7 million worldwide.
"China must pay the burden and the cost endured by Americans because of their role in this pandemic," Banks wrote to Blinken.
"Preventing another pandemic is a goal that we all share, but giving China a slap on the wrist after it continued to lie to the world and heightened the severity of the current pandemic is only going to make that goal harder to achieve," he added.
The Indiana Republican also pressed the secretary of state on whether the U.S. will slap sanctions on China for their actions in the attempted "cover-up of the pandemic or for spreading harmful disinformation regarding the pandemic."
Banks pointed to China’s top foreign ministry officials who continue to propagate falsehoods and misinformation surrounding the pandemic, including as recently as Monday.
Chinese government spokesman Zhao Lijian deflected questions by reporters on China's transparency regarding the origins of the virus by asking, "When will the WHO experts be invited to the United States for a visit on origin-tracing?"
Fox News could not immediately reach the State Department for comment.