Any hope of G7 foreign ministers releasing a joint statement on the fight against COVID-19 was killed today after the U.S. insisted the document refer to it as the "Wuhan virus."
As originally reported by Der Spiegel, and according to sources with knowledge of the situation, when U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted the novel coronavirus be referred to by the name of the Chinese city where the outbreak first appeared, ministers from other countries refused to agree.
G7 foreign ministers had planned to meet in Pittsburgh this week to discuss a range of issues. However, the in-person meeting was swapped for a video conference because of the pandemic.
According to one source, bureaucrats from each country had hoped to come up with a joint statement about the pandemic's impact ahead of the meeting.
Those talks did not get very far, and a proposed statement never reached politicians ahead of the teleconference.
During the meeting itself, however, one of the ministers revisited the idea of issuing a joint statement.
Sources say that's when Pompeo said the U.S. wanted to refer to COVID-19 as the "Wuhan virus."
That was a red line for several ministers, and no joint statement was agreed upon or released.
One official from a country involved said Pompeo would not agree to a communique that didn't refer specifically to the "Wuhan virus."