U.S. wanted a statement referring to the coronavirus as the ‘Wuhan virus.’ Other nations disagreed.
WASHINGTON—A meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven nations ended Wednesday without a customary joint statement because members wouldn’t agree with a U.S. request to refer to the novel coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus,” according to an official familiar with the matter.
The U.S. chaired the meeting, which was conducted virtually due to concerns about the outbreak of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. The State Department is using the hashtag #WuhanVirus on Twitter.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who represented the U.S., declined to comment when asked about the disagreement during a briefing with reporters on Wednesday.
Top agenda items for the meeting included preventing further crises in the world’s most vulnerable countries and keeping global travel routes open to ensure citizens can return home.
“This isn’t a time for blame; this is a time to solve this global problem. We are focused on that today,” Mr. Pompeo told reporters.
The German magazine Der Spiegel reported the disagreement among the seven industrialized nations earlier Wednesday. The Trump administration has drawn criticism for its description of the novel coronavirus, which some critics said has stoked hostility toward Asian Americans.
Mr. Pompeo reiterated his previous criticism of China for what he called a disinformation campaign about the virus. He also said that Chinese authorities still were withholding information about the outbreak that started in Hubei province.
The Chinese embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Other participating G-7 nations released their own statements about the outcome of the meeting on Wednesday, though didn’t refer to the novel coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus” or the “Chinese virus,” a term used by President Trump.
The G-7 consists of the U.S., U.K., Canada, Japan, Italy, Germany and France.
“Today, I’ve agreed to work together to intensify international cooperation to support vulnerable countries, pursue a vaccine, protect the world economy, and enable our citizens who are stranded to get home safely,” the U.K. foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said in a statement.