Pompeo, who made the remarks in Tokyo during a meeting of Quad partners Japan, India and Australia on Tuesday, said the Chinese government is to blame for the global pandemic.
"When we met, now last year, the landscape was very different," Pompeo said. "We couldn't have imagined the pandemic that came from Wuhan.
"That crisis was made infinitely worse by the Chinese Communist Party's coverup. The regime's authoritarian nature led its leaders to lock up and silence the very brave Chinese citizens who were raising the alarm."
Pompeo's trip to Japan comes at a time when more Trump administration officials have tested positive for the coronavirus. Reports of infections among members of the White House were followed by a change of plan. Pompeo was originally scheduled to travel to Mongolia and South Korea.
On Tuesday, Pompeo separately met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, when the two sides affirmed the U.S.-Japan alliance and a mutual commitment to "democracy, human rights, economic development, security and people-to-people ties."
The top U.S. diplomat also told Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi Suga and he agreed that a "free and open Indo-Pacific" is the cornerstone to regional peace and stability.
The same principles apply to U.S.-Japan relations, Pompeo said, according to NHK and the Nikkei on Tuesday.
The U.S. secretary of state is looking to broaden the Quad, with other countries becoming party of the framework at "the appropriate time," the Nikkei Asian Review reported Tuesday.
In September, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Won In-choul said the United States and South Korea discussed the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy. Seoul is seeking ways to work within the strategy while increasing cooperation with Quad participants, Won had said.
Seoul is also hoping to improve relations with Tokyo. On Monday, Kyodo News reported business trips are to resume between Japan and South Korea. The two countries have been locked in a dispute over compensation for forced Korean wartime laborers since 2018.