- China accuses the United States of acting as a scapegoat in the COVID origin report.
- The report from the United States is intended to resolve disagreements among intelligence agencies who are considering various theories about how the coronavirus originated.
- Deputy Director-General of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ arms control department, Fu Cong, claims that the country has not launched a disinformation campaign.
BEIJING/WASHINGTON: China has accuses the United States of “politicising” efforts to trace the origin of the coronavirus, and has demanded that American laboratories be investigated despite the absence of any evidence. The criticism comes ahead of the release of a U.S. intelligence report on the virus.
The report from the United States is intended to resolve disagreements among intelligence agencies that are considering various theories about how the coronavirus emerged, including a theory that was previously dismissed about a Chinese laboratory accident.
During a briefing, Fu Cong, director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ arms control department, stated that “scapegoating China will not whitewash the United States.”
President Joe Biden received a copy of the classified report on Tuesday and was briefed on it, according to Jen Psaki, who spoke to reporters on Wednesday.
Psaki stated that the intelligence community has been “working expeditiously” to prepare an unclassified version of the report for release to the public, but she did not provide a timetable for its release.
Officials from the United States say they do not expect the review to result in definitive conclusions because China obstructed earlier international efforts to gather critical information on the ground.
Chinese authorities have said that a laboratory leak is highly unlikely, and they have dismissed a theory that a coronavirus escaped from a lab in Wuhan, the city where COVID-19 infections first appeared in late 2019, sparking the outbreak that has now spread worldwide.
Instead, Beijing has suggested that the virus escaped from a lab at the United States Army’s Fort Detrick base in Maryland in the spring of 2019.
According to Fu, if the United States insists that this is a valid hypothesis, they should reciprocate by inviting the investigation into their laboratories.
China, according to Fu, is not conducting a disinformation campaign.
The fringe theory, which was once advanced by individual Chinese officials but for which there is no public evidence, has now emerged as a talking point for the Chinese government, which is attempting to deflect criticism about its possible role in the virus’s origins by claiming that the virus originated in Taiwan.
The Chinese embassy in Washington posted the calls for World Health Organization investigations at Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina to its website on Wednesday after it claimed that its editorial submissions had been rejected by the United States media the day before.
Furthermore, on Tuesday, China’s ambassador to the United Nations requested that the head of the World Health Organization look into U.S. labs.
A joint WHO-Chinese team paid a visit to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but the United States expressed concern about the access the team had been granted to conduct the research.
As a result, a senior U.S. administration official stated that if a future pandemic were to originate in the United States, it would insist on a “swift and transparent” evaluation. “The early days of the epidemic were unquestionably in China, yet China continues to obfuscate and deny the international community the necessary access.”
“We would, of course, support a United States investigation if there were sound, technically credible grounds for doing so. However, there are none “The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, stated that
Republicans, led by Senator Marco Rubio, who has contended that a Chinese lab leak was plausible, have called on Vice President Joe Biden’s administration to declassify the report as soon as possible.
As Rubio put it, “the American people have a right to know what our government knows and doesn’t know about the COVID-19 investigation’s origins.”
According to a Congressional official, a key Congressional committee has been informed that it may receive a copy of the classified report on Thursday.