GOP Rep. Fleischmann: U.S., Global Community Going to Have to Be ‘Punitive’ Against China — ‘Some Type of Compensation Paid’

As the country looks to get over the hump in it travails with the coronavirus pandemic, attention will shift to Mainland China, a nation widely thought to be responsible for the outbreak. According to Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), China must be held accountable.

During an interview with Huntsville, AL radio’s WVNN on Monday, the Tennessee Republican suggested punitive action was necessary to discourage China from engaging in behavior that could lead to a global pandemic.

“I think once we get through the difficult phase or phases, the United States or the global community is going to have to be punitive towards China,” he said on “The Jeff Poor Show.” “What I mean by that is they’re going to have to hold China accountable. Any nation that has had something like this happen needs to tell the truth, and they need to be forced to tell the truth. We’ve got to get the facts so that something like this does not happen in the future. Once we do that, we’ve got to look at what would be a fair way to compensate the United States for the losses we have sustained economically and otherwise. We’ll have to look at that very carefully.”

Fleischmann laid out some possibilities of actions that could be taken against China, ranging from diplomatic to debt forgiveness.

“I think there has to be some strong diplomatic action taken,” Fleischmann explained. “There may have to be some subsequent trade action taken. There definitely will be legal action taken. The question will be on the enforceability of the legal action. What I mean by that is even if we’re given the right to sue these countries, the problem will be, how do you engage in what we do in American law — a very simple process called discovery. What I mean by that are depositions, interrogatories to get the necessary documents. That’s going to be very difficult. So I think we need to have negotiations between the United States and China directly. As you’re aware, we were $23 trillion in debt before this. We’re probably going to be $25-27 trillion in debt after this crisis.”

“China owns a lot of our debt,” he continued. “Unfortunately, about 50% of our debt that we owe on our national debt is owned by foreign countries, and China is one of the predominant owners. Maybe there’s a way we can talk about some form of debt forgiveness in that regard. But there’s got to be some remedy to deal with that the United States did not deserve, the American people did not deserve, and there’s got to be accountability towards the Chinese, who basically not only dropped the ball but then covered it up.”

The Tennessee Republican congressman said it was up to the United States to take the lead, and pointed to the failures of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) as to why we should not wait for a global body to take the lead.

“The United States has got to lead,” Fleischmann added. “We cannot wait on the international community. We’ve seen this with the W.H.O., the World Health Organization. The United States contributes to the W.H.O. Fortunately, President Trump is going to address that, hopefully, cease that until they get their act in order. But they were lackadaisical as well. I think they bent to the wishes of the Chinese, and that was bad. It hurt the W.H.O. It hurt the world. It hurt other countries. Yes, there is going to be international pressure on China to compensate these other countries as well. Ultimately, there’s going to have to be some type of compensation paid. And hopefully, we can get there sooner than later.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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