21:24 GMT15 June 2021
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    On Wednesday, Joe Biden pledged to push China to take part in a full-blown international investigaton into the origins of the coronavirus and give access to all relevant evidence.

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has accused the US of failing to be interested in "serious scientific tracing" of COVID-19's origins, claiming that the White House "doesn't care about [the] facts and truth" pertaining to the issue.

    Zhao described the Biden administration's position as something "in total disregard of facts and science […] while totally ignoring the doubts over the origin-tracing work and failure of [the] pandemic response in the US".

    The spokesperson argued all this "fully shows that the US side […] wants to use the [COVID-19] epidemic to engage in stigmatisation and political manipulation, and to shirk responsibility. This is disrespectful to science and irresponsible to people's lives, and moreover, it undermines the global unity of efforts to fight the epidemic".

    A sign on the door of a Biosafety Level 4 laboratory at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Md., Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011.
    © AP Photo / Patrick Semansky
    A sign on the door of a Biosafety Level 4 laboratory at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Md., Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011.

    He also urged the US to open itself up to investigations into its own biological laboratories, including those located in the Naval Medical Research Centre's Biological Defence Research Directorate at Fort Detrick in Maryland.

    "I also want to emphasise that the Fort Detrick base is full of suspicions. There are more than 200 biological laboratories in the United States spreading around the world. How many secrets are there?", Zhao said, calling on Washington to "immediately cooperate with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on origin tracing research in a scientific manner".

    Biden Orders Intel Agencies to Get More Info on Origins of COVID

    The comments come after US President Joe Biden said in a statement on Wednesday that he was giving his country's intelligence agencies 90 days to obtain and analyse more information on the origins of COVID-19.

    POTUS vowed that his administration would go ahead with efforts to prod China to "participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence".

    (FILES) This file photo taken on April 17, 2020 shows an aerial view of the P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province
    © AP Photo / HECTOR RETAMAL
    (FILES) This file photo taken on April 17, 2020 shows an aerial view of the P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province

    Biden added that although the US intelligence community had "coalesced around two likely scenarios", they had yet to conclude whether the coronavirus emanated from contact between humans and animals, or from a research laboratory in China's Wuhan Institute of Virology.

    The statement followed Andy Slavitt, Biden's senior adviser on COVID, stressing on Tuesday that the international community needs to "get to the bottom ... whatever the answer may be".

    "We need a completely transparent process from China; we need the WHO to assist in that matter. We don't feel like we have that now", Slavitt asserted.

    This was preceded by the release of a WHO report in late March that argued it's "extremely unlikely" the coronavirus escaped from a Wuhan research lab. At the same time, the report also failed to prove that the virus can be transmitted from animals to humans, something that until now was the prevailing thesis.

    US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan voiced concern at the time over whether China had duly submitted its raw data on COVID-19 to the World Health Organisation, amid media reports that the organisation's investigators were denied access to personalised info on more than a hundred early cases of the coronavirus. Beijing vehemently rejected the allegations.

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    probe, COVID-19, coronavirus, Joe Biden, China, US
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