April 16, 2020 / 12:34 PM / 3 months ago

U.S. Pentagon chief criticizes China as misleading, opaque on coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks during a joint news conference with Britain's Secretary of State of Defence Ben Wallace after their meeting at Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Thursday he believes China’s leaders have been misleading and opaque about the coronavirus outbreak that originated there and does not trust that they are being truthful even now.

Continuing the Trump administration’s criticism of China’s handling of the virus outbreak, Esper told NBC’s “Today” show he finds it difficult to believe information from the Chinese Communist Party.

“They’ve been misleading us, they’ve been opaque if you will from the early days of this virus. So I don’t have much faith that they’re even being truthful with us now,” he said.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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