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Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told “The Daily Briefing” Tuesday that the Chinese government “does bear responsibility” for the slow early response to the coronavirus pandemic around the world, but added that the U.S. must take a measured approach to Beijing and continue to deal with the country’s leadership in a spirit of mutual cooperation on other issues.
“First of all, I think that China really does bear responsibility for a lot of the problems at the beginning — not having revealed any information, lack of transparency — and that is something that we have to deal with,” Albright told host Dana Perino. “I think that it really did harm the whole situation, and [the fact that they] kind of tr[ied] to blame us for some things.”
“But the bottom line is that, I think, we need to figure out how to press them now on a whole series of issues that we need to cooperate on: Some on the supply chains, some on the way that were going to have to deal internationally with this,” she added.
Albright, 82, said a key conundrum of diplomacy is trying to find areas of common ground with nations whom the U.S. is directly competing against in other areas. She explained that the U.S. and China are closely tied through manufacturing and supply chains.
However, she also reiterated that Beijing cannot “avoid responsibility” for their shortcomings, including lack of transparency.
“I think we now need to figure out how to solve some of the current problems that we’re having in terms of supply chain issues and dealing with this globally,” Albright repeated.
Turning to President Trump’s recent threat to withhold funding from the World Health Organization, Albright told Perino she likely would not consider doing so. She recalled that when she became U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1993, she was hampered by the fact that the George H.W. Bush administration “had not paid up some of the peacekeeping operations” which left the Clinton administration at a disadvantage in terms of getting its voice heard.
“If you are not at the table,” she said, “you are not able to get the kind of reforms that you need.”