Senior U.S. officials are beginning to explore proposals for punishing or demanding financial compensation from China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to four senior administration officials with knowledge of internal planning.
The move could splinter already strained relations between the two superpowers at a perilous moment for the global economy.
Senior officials across multiple government agencies are expected to meet Thursday to begin mapping out a strategy for seeking retaliatory measures against China, two people with knowledge of the meeting said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose the planning. Officials in American intelligence agencies are also involved in the effort.
President Trump has fumed to aides and others in recent days about China, blaming the country for withholding information about the virus, and has discussed enacting dramatic measures that would probably lead to retaliation by Beijing, these people said.