A member of the House Armed Services Committee is calling on the Trump administration to file charges against China in the International Court of Justice over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), one of Congress's leading China hawks, is demanding the State Department file a suit in the United Nations court accusing China of negligence over its handling of the virus and efforts to lie about the disease's true impact.
Banks and other GOP lawmakers have called for China to be held accountable for the pandemic, even going so far as to demand the communist regime pay Americans reparations.
"If China's leaders hadn't become embarrassed by the outbreak and tried to cover up its spread, the world may have had a better chance to prepare for this or even contain it in Wuhan or China," Banks said in a statement provided to the Washington Free Beacon. "Instead, we have a pandemic. China shoulders most of that blame. Rather than succumb to the propaganda and spin of Chinese officials, the world must hold them accountable for mishandling this outbreak. If the United Nations cannot even do that, it has completely lost its purpose."
Banks will circulate a letter to his colleagues that will demonstrate to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Bill Barr "congressional backing for bringing an international case against China," according to the lawmaker's office.
The U.N. established the ICJ to settle legal disputes between member nations.
Banks said China's false claims about the nature of the virus and the communist regime's imprisonment and silencing of doctors and dissidents who tried to tell the truth about it are grounds to file a suit.
The State Department did not respond to requests for comment on whether it supports Banks's proposal.
Banks was one of the first lawmakers in Congress to sound the alarm about the coronavirus back in January. Since then he has sought to hold Beijing accountable, introducing a bipartisan resolution condemning China's coronavirus response.