A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on August 25 urged the United States to stop political manipulation on the issue of coronavirus origins tracing, saying the United States should invite WHO experts to launch a probe into Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina (UNC) to find the source of the virus if it is bent on insisting the lab-leak theory.
Spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a daily press briefing after the Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland wrote to the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), and submitted two non-papers on Fort Detrick and UNC, as well as an open letter signed by netizens demanding an investigation into Fort Detrick.
Wang said China's stand on global origins tracing is consistent and clear, adding the issue is a science-based one, and China always supports and will continue participating in science-based origins tracing.
The conclusions and recommendations of the China-WHO joint study report have been recognized by the international community and the scientific community, and must be respected and implemented, Wang said, adding that future global origins study should and can only be carried out on this basis.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has received WHO experts twice. It is extremely unlikely that the novel coronavirus was leaked from the WIV -- this is the clear conclusion of the China-WHO joint study report, the spokesperson said. Those who insist that the possibility of a lab-leak cannot be ruled out should investigate Fort Detrick and the UNC in the principle of fairness and justice.
Wang said the international community, including the American public, has long held concerns over the illegal, non-transparent, and unsafe activities of Fort Detrick, citing bio-safety incidents in 2019 that led to the shutting down of the lab and the ensuing outbreaks of illnesses with similar symptoms of COVID-19.
For the UNC, the spokesperson pointed out the Baric team leads the world in researches in this field and has already advanced capabilities to synthesize and modify coronavirus.
"We hope the international community can work hand in hand to resist the backlash of politicization and bring the origins study back to the right track of scientific cooperation," Wang added.
Also on Wednesday, Fu Cong, director-general of the Department of Arms Control of the Foreign Ministry, said the United States, while clamoring for an investigation into other countries' bio-medical labs, is the only country standing in the way of establishing a multilateral verification mechanism under the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).
"I wonder if the U.S. obsession with Chinese biological labs signifies a change in its position on a verification protocol. Simply put, is the U.S. government ready to withdraw its opposition to the negotiations of a verification protocol under the BWC?"
Fu said the litmus test would come as early as next week when the Meetings of the States Parties to the BWC takes place in Geneva. "China will once again call for the restart of negotiations on a verification protocol," Fu added.