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US slammed for frustrating the response to coronavirus
Last Updated: 2021-08-26 06:57 | China Daily
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Officials and scholars have lashed out at the expected release of a 90-day review by the United States intelligence community on COVID-19 origins, saying that it will sabotage a global joint response toward the virus and betray science.

Such a hasty review done by the intelligence community will only add to the number of questions, serve the US domestic political agenda, stoke racial hatred toward Asians and further worsen US ties with China, they warned.

This week marks the end of the US intelligence community's 90-day review as instructed by US President Joe Biden, who reportedly received a classified report on Tuesday. The unclassified version has not been officially available so far.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the US report will "seriously disrupt international anti-pandemic cooperation", the US approach is anti-science, and its "conclusion" is bound to serve Washington's own political purposes.

All parties should be alert regarding attempts to politicize the tracing of the origins of the novel coronavirus, Wang said in a phone conversation with Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag on Tuesday.

Kaag said COVID-19 origin tracing is a scientific issue and is expected to accumulate experience for responses to future pandemics.

A World Health Organization report issued in late March on the completed joint study on the origins said a lab leak was "extremely unlikely" to be the origin of the coronavirus.

However, Washington has claimed that the "lab leak" hypothesis remains valid.

The Guardian newspaper published an article on Sunday titled "The Wuhan lab leak theory is more about politics than science", saying that "it is unlikely hard answers will be provided this week" given the paucity of new information Biden's team will have unearthed over the past 90 days.

Unnamed US officials told The Washington Post that the classified report of the 90-day intelligence community review "was inconclusive" about the origins, including whether the pathogen jumped from an animal to a human or leaked from a Chinese lab.

The US claim that it lacks information from China "is just an excuse to cover up its failure of intelligence-based origins tracing", Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday.

CNN reported on Tuesday that "Asian American leaders are concerned" that the US report "will be used to 'legitimize racist language' and lead to more anti-Asian violence across the country".

Ruan Zongze, executive vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, noted that wealth disparity in the US has widened amid the ravaging infections there and racial issues loom large, but the US "has been seeking scapegoats to cover up its failure in COVID-19 response".

"The US obsession with coercive diplomacy and politicizing origin tracing drastically diminishes the global COVID-19 joint response, thus making itself the origin of a 'political virus'. Such an obsession won't save the US, but will create a major divide in the world," Ruan said.

Elliot Ziwira, a senior writer with the Zimbabwean newspaper The Herald, criticized "politicking and smearing by countries like the United States of America" against China.

"The persistent need to depoliticise the contagion and its origin-tracing refrain cannot be overemphasised," Ziwira said in an article published on Tuesday.

Chen Xu, China's permanent representative to the UN Office at Geneva, sent a letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday.

"It is the labs of Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina in US that should be subject to transparent investigation with full access," Chen wrote.

Chen attached a joint letter from more than 25 million Chinese netizens to the WHO demanding an investigation into the Fort Detrick lab.

The Fort Detrick lab's monthslong shutdown in 2019 was followed by cases of respiratory disease with symptoms similar to COVID-19 in adjacent communities.

A paper published by researchers from the University of North Carolina showed that as early as 2003, the US institutes already had the capability to synthesize and modify SARS-related coronaviruses, according to Fu Cong, director-general of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Arms Control.

"The international community has grave concerns about all of the bio-military activities of the US, including Fort Detrick" for their lack of transparency and security, Fu said at a briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.

Fu noted that the US once claimed that biological activities are not verifiable, which led to the halt of international negotiations in 2001 on a verification protocol under the Biological Weapons Convention.

(Editor:Wang Su)

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US slammed for frustrating the response to coronavirus
Source:China Daily | 2021-08-26 06:57
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