US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo charged Thursday that China may have known of the new coronavirus as early as November, renewing accusations that Beijing has not been transparent and again drawing ire from China.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said shots fired Sunday from North Korea towards the South in the DMZ that divides the peninsula were believed to have been “accidental.”

“Handful of shots came across from the north; we think those were accidental,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“South Koreans did return fire. There was no loss of life on either side,” he added.

The border incident came a day after North Korean state media said Kim Jong Un had made his first public appearance after a nearly three-week unexplained absence from public view.

Pompeo declined to comment on what the US knew about the North Korean leader’s absence, or whether it was linked to a rumoured health issue.

“We have seen the same images from yesterday that the world saw. It looks like Chairman Kim is alive and well,” he said.


“Our mission remains the same, to convince the North Koreans to give up their nuclear weapons and create a brighter future for the North Korean people.”

Meanwhile, it was earlier reported that Pompeo said that there was “enormous evidence” that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

“There is enormous evidence that this is where it began,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

But while highly critical of China’s handling of the matter, Pompeo declined to say whether he thought the virus had been intentionally released.

President Donald Trump has been increasingly critical of China’s role in the pandemic, which has infected nearly 3.5 million people and killed more than 240,000 around the world.

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