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 on Tuesday left Israel for Sudan, the next stop on his regional tour, on the first official direct flight from Tel Aviv to Khartoum.

Video released by the US embassy in Jerusalem showed an official greeting Pompeo as he walked up the steps into his plane, saying “You are now on a historic flight,” and the top US diplomat nodding in agreement.

Israel and Sudan do not have diplomatic relations and, barring a last-minute route change, it would be the first such flight, US officials said.

Pompeo is touring Sudan and the Arab world this week in a bid to defend recent thawing ties between Israel and the region.

An itinerary released on Sunday shows Mr Pompeo will travel to Israel, Sudan, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates between August 23 and 28.

In Sudan, he will meet with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Sovereign Council Chair General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to discuss what spokesperson Morgan Ortagus called continued US support for the civilian-led transitional government and express support for deepening the Sudan-Israel relationship.

The background to the tour, however, is the groundbreaking new relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed signed the famous Abraham Accord, an agreement that would see them establish diplomatic ties, becoming the first time they would allow direct contact, including direct flights between the two countries.

The deal was significant because the UAE became only the third country in the Arab world to recognise Israel since its creation in 1948.

Egypt and Jordan had made peace with Israel before, but the relations have always been lukewarm.

The Arab world generally calls for a two-state solution with Palestine. And Although Israel agrees, they disagreed on where the Palestine state should be. Israel was accused of occupying territories initially belonging to Palestine in the West Bank strip.

Get more stories like this on Twitter