U.S. mulling potential retaliatory action against China over pandemic – sources

REUTERS

There is a growing push within the Trump administration to craft a list of retaliatory measures against China over its role in the coronavirus outbreak, three sources, including a U.S. official, familiar with the matter said, but cautioned the efforts were in early stages.

President Donald Trump has shown increasing frustration with China in recent weeks over the pandemic, which has cost tens of thousands of lives in the United States alone, sparked an economic contraction and threatened Trump’s chances of re-election in November.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that a range of options were under discussion but that it had not yet reached the level of Trump’s top national security team or been taken to the president.

A range of options are being discussed, informally for now by officials across an array of government agencies, including the State Department, White House National Security Council, Treasury Department and Pentagon, two of the sources said.

“There is a discussion as to how hard to hit China and how to calibrate it properly,” one of the sources said as Washington walks a tight rope in its ties with Beijing while it imports personal protection equipment (PPE) from there and is also wary of hurting a sensitive trade deal.

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