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Southeast Asia's wildlife markets need to close, US says

Pompeo warns of link to diseases, echoing push by Australia to G-20

A wet market in Vientiane: The coronavirus pandemic has sparked fresh criticism of exotic eating habits. (Photo by Marimi Kishimoto)

BANGKOK -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to shut down markets that sell wild animals for food, like the one in the Chinese city of Wuhan where the new coronavirus is thought to have originated.

The U.S. has urged China "to permanently close its wildlife wet markets," and "I call on ASEAN governments to do the same," Pompeo said, according to a statement ahead of his teleconference Thursday with the foreign ministers from 10-nation bloc.

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