Biden Reportedly Receives 'Inconclusive' Intel Report on COVID Origins Amid Blame Game WIth China
13:37 GMT 25.08.2021 (Updated: 13:23 GMT 06.08.2022)
On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin described a US Intelligence report on the origins of the coronavirus as a document containing "predetermined findings", saying it is aimed at shifting responsibility for the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday, the US intelligence community provided President Joe Biden with an "inconclusive report" on the origins of COVID-19, The Washington Post has cited unnamed sources as saying.
The sources claimed that intelligence officials failed to reach a consensus on whether the coronavirus jumped from an animal to a human as a natural process, or escaped from a Chinese laboratory.
The insiders added that the US intelligence community will "seek within days to declassify elements of the report for potential public release".
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, for her part, confirmed that the public would be told about the report's outcome but that she doesn't know "what format that will take at this point in time".
China Slams US Intel Report on Origins of COVID
This follows Yang Zhanqiu of China's Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) telling the state-run Chinese tabloid Global Times that "having an intelligence team to look for virus origins is ridiculous enough", which is why "it's unsurprising that [US President Joe] Biden would end up with no definitive answer".
According to the scientist, if POTUS "seeks another investigation, it will downgrade his administration's credibility and make it a laughing stock".
Hours before the US Intelligence community report was placed on Biden's desk, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin rejected the document's validity.
© AFP 2022 / HECTOR RETAMALAn aerial view shows the P4 laboratory (L) at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on April 17, 2020
An aerial view shows the P4 laboratory (L) at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on April 17, 2020
"The US intelligence community has a poor record in history. It is impossible that it would draft the report based on facts and truth. This report will be nothing but a patchwork of so-called evidence based on predetermined conclusions, with the aim of shifting blame onto others. It is not credible at all", Wang argued.
In late May, President Joe Biden gave the US intelligence community 90 days to produce a report on the origins of the coronavirus and determine whether the disease leaked from a lab or spread from an infected animal to humans.
Beijing has repeatedly rejected Washington's allegations that COVID-19 originated in a Wuhan lab, warning the White House against politicising the issue.
World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for his part, insists that it is too early to exclude a possible link between the COVID-19 pandemic and a laboratory leak of the virus.
Late March saw the release of a WHO report that argued it's "extremely unlikely" the coronavirus escaped from a Wuhan bio lab. At the same time, the document also failed to prove that COVID-19 can be transmitted from animals to humans, something that until now was the prevailing thesis.
China has, meanwhile, rejected the WHO's call "to work together" on the UN body's second probe into the origins of COVID, insisting that the first probe was sufficient and that Beijing prefers scientific to political efforts to find out how "the worst pandemic in a century" started.