US Slams China's 'False, Baseless and Unscientific Claims' on COVID Origins (Dreamstime.com)
Monday, 05 April 2021 05:13 PM
The State Department is pushing back against China's continued claims that the U.S. military is responsible for originating the COVID-19 pandemic rather than China.
"The United States condemns the PRC's false, baseless and unscientific claims which undermine the spirit and purpose of an impartial origins investigation," a State Department spokesperson said, according to a report at the Washington Examiner.
"We remain concerned by the misleading alternative theories about the origins of the virus advanced by the PRC," the spokesperson said. "We cannot know the origins of the virus and its spread until the PRC provides a full accounting of the actions it took and full transparency of the knowledge it had in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are going to base our conclusions on nothing other than the data and science."
Both the Trump and Biden administrations said the Chinese government tried for more than a year to prevent an independent probe into the virus' origins. Once a team from the World Health Organization was finally allowed in early this year, they said their access was restricted, and half the team was Chinese citizens, so a promised early report was put on hold because it wasn't possible to give a reliable assessment, according to Peter Ben Embarek, lead scientist on the team.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian again pushed claims last Monday that the virus began at Fort Detrick in Maryland as the WHO's report was being released to the public.
"I cannot help but ask, when will the U.S. be as open and transparent as China on the epidemic and origin-tracing issues?" he said. "When will the WHO experts be invited to the United States for a visit on origin-tracing? When will Fort Detrick be opened for international experts to visit, investigate or study?”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying agreed with Zhao, saying "As for the tweet posted by one of my colleagues on his personal account last year, I have noticed that some individuals from Western countries keep coming back to this issue. There really is no need for doing so."
She added: "Since the outbreak of COVID-19, how many lies and rumors and lies against China have been told by certain politicians, leaders, and lawmakers in the U.S. and Europe, including those about China's lab leak and making of the virus? I wonder how many of those lies you have checked? Besides, there is still a big question mark over the lab at Fort Detrick."
The next day she asked: "So when will the U.S. biological base at Fort Detrick, with a big question mark over it, allow international experts in for a visit?"
"[I]f there were sound, technically credible reasons for such a step, we would of course support it – but there are none," a White House spokesperson told the Examiner. "If a future pandemic were to originate here or anywhere else, we would similarly insist on a swift and transparent science-based evaluation. In fact, that’s one of our concerns about this process – it must not be allowed to set a terrible precedent for the future."
The State Department noted its statement that it is a "myth" that "U.S. service members visiting China were the source of the coronavirus outbreak" during the 7th World Military Games held in Wuhan in October 2019.
According to a WHO-China joint report, "no appreciable signals of clusters of fever or severe respiratory disease requiring hospitalization were identified during review of these events."