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U.S. defense secretary says China still withholding information on coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks during a joint news conference with Britain's Secretary of State of Defence Ben Wallace after their meeting at Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China is still withholding information related to the coronavirus needed to inform the global response, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a television interview on Wednesday, as he called on Beijing to share its data.

“Clearly, the Chinese could have been more transparent earlier and shared much more of the data. We would have (had) a better understanding of this virus and then how to deal with it,” Esper said in an interview with Fox News.

“Even today we see them withholding information and so I think we need to do more and continue to press them to share.”

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali