As the number of coronavirus cases climbs in the United States and Europe, the Chinese Communist Party is escalating a war of words aimed at the West, including threatening to cut off the world from access to potentially lifesaving coronavirus medication.
According to Fox News, in an article in China's state-run media apparatus, Beijing threatened to impose tight controls over pharmaceutical exports to toss America into "the mighty sea of coronavirus." The virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has killed more than 5,100 people across the world out of more than 140,000 confirmed cases as of Friday afternoon.
Drug shortages because of Chinese dependence
Beijing's threats to cut off access to coronavirus drugs in the middle of a global pandemic highlight for many the dangers of the West's trade dependence on China. As Fox News highlighted, China's warnings come as the FDA has announced the first drug shortage related to COVID-19. While the federal agency has not said which drug is scarce, officials said they were unable to access necessary components because they are made in China.
"We are working with the manufacturer as well as other manufacturers to mitigate the shortage," said the FDA in a statement, according to Reuters. "We will do everything possible to mitigate the shortage."
Rubio blasts China
Concerns over China's grip on global supply chains have been circulating around Capitol Hill for some time but have only escalated in recent weeks. Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told Fox News on Thursday that the United States is "dangerously reliant" on Beijing for medical technologies, parts, and drugs that are necessary to fight the coronavirus.
Rubio has also blasted China's misinformation campaign that seeks to blame the United States for the spread of the deadly illness.
"The Chinese military portal Xilu.com recently published an article baselessly claiming that the virus is 'a biochemical weapon produced by the U.S. to target China,'" he wrote.
Rubio also noted that Iran is misleading and attempting to pin the coronavirus on the United States. "In Qom, ground zero of Iran's coronavirus outbreak, a prominent cleric accused the United States of introducing the virus 'to damage (the city's) culture and honor."