Biden Did Not Discuss COVID Origins With China's Xi Jinping During 2-Hour Call Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shake hands with then-Vice President Joe Biden (L) inside the Great Hall of the People on December 4, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
By Theodore Bunker | Wednesday, 07 April 2021 01:48 PM
President Joe Biden told reporters this week he did not discuss the origins of COVID-19 with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a two-hour February phone conversation — despite revelations about the potential start of the pandemic.
Biden made the comments during a Tuesday press conference to mark the U.S. hitting an "important milestone" in vaccine rollout, having "crossed 150 million shots in 75 days — the first 75 days my administration, on our way to hitting our goal of 200 million shots by the 100th day in office. That, of course, is the new goal I set after passing the original mark of 100 million shots in my first 100 days, doing it in just 58 days."
And though Biden noted the death toll from COVID-19, with the total number of dead Americans then standing at 554,064, he said he hadn't talked about China's potential role in unleashing coronavirus on the world with the country's leader.
Fox News' Peter Doocy asked Biden at the end of the event: "A lot of families want to know how this happened, how it got here. Have you had a chance to speak to any of your international partners? President Xi, who I know you go way back with, have you had a chance to ask him if these reports are true that China maybe misled the world at the beginning?"
Biden replied: "No, I have not had that conversation with President Xi."
He then left the room.
At the time of the call, the White House released a statement providing some information about what was discussed during the conversation, which included "countering the COVID-19 pandemic" — but nothing on the origin of the virus.
"The President shared his greetings and well wishes with the Chinese people on the occasion of Lunar New Year," the statement said. "President Biden affirmed his priorities of protecting the American people’s security, prosperity, health, and way of life, and preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific. President Biden underscored his fundamental concerns about Beijing’s coercive and unfair economic practices, crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan. The two leaders also exchanged views on countering the COVID-19 pandemic, and the shared challenges of global health security, climate change, and preventing weapons proliferation. President Biden committed to pursuing practical, results-oriented engagements when it advances the interests of the American people and those of our allies."