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US urged to stop politicizing COVID's origin

By ZHOU JIN | China Daily | Updated: 2021-11-01 07:35
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China reiterated on Sunday its opposition to the United States politicizing the coronavirus.[Photo/Agencies]

China willing to boost cooperation with WHO on vaccine distribution, drug R&D

China reiterated on Sunday its opposition to the United States politicizing the coronavirus and urged Washington to stop shifting blame and to focus on domestic efforts and global cooperation in fighting COVID-19.

US intelligence agencies said in a declassified report on Friday that a natural origin and a lab leak are both plausible hypotheses for how SARS-CoV-2 first infected humans, but analysts disagree on which is more likely or whether any definitive assessment can even be made, Reuters reported.

The report is an update of a 90-day review that the administration of US President Joe Biden released in August, a move to blame China for the effects of the global pandemic, and one that Beijing has repeatedly lambasted.

"A lie repeated a thousand times is still a lie. No matter how many times the report is published or how many versions it comes in, it will not change the fact that this report is in essence a political and false one, with no scientific basis or credibility," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in an online statement on Sunday.

More than 80 countries have recently expressed opposition to the politicization of origin-tracing and have upheld the joint China-WHO study report, including by writing to the World Health Organization director-general, releasing statements and sending notes.

Over 300 political parties, civil organizations and think tanks from more than 100 countries and regions have submitted a joint statement opposing the politicization of origin-tracing to the WHO Secretariat.

During a meeting in Rome on Saturday, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus agreed to conduct scientific research on origin-tracing of the coronavirus and jointly rejected politicization.

The WHO will not yield to external pressure and firmly opposes blame-shifting, Tedros said.

Wang Yi called for remaining vigilant for all kinds of political speculation in origin-tracing of the virus and stressed that all WHO member countries should be treated equally and their sovereignty should be respected.

Noting that the global fight against COVID-19 is a major test of multilateralism, he called on the WHO to adhere to solidarity and cooperation, prioritize people's safety and health, and oppose any attempt to use the pandemic to label or stigmatize others.

China is willing to enhance cooperation with the WHO on equitable vaccine distribution, COVID-19 drug research and development, and support for African countries in dealing with the pandemic, he said.

Wang Wenbin, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in the statement that using intelligence agencies to trace the origin is in itself iron-clad proof of politicization, and the US intelligence services have a deplorable track record, with falsification and deception tactics that are known to the world.

The spokesman urged the US to stop political manipulation and create conditions for scientists around the world to cooperate in origin-tracing.

The US should stop attacking and smearing China, respond to the legitimate concerns of the international community, receive WHO expert visits, and open up its biological labs at Fort Detrick and biological experiment bases, he said.

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