Feb 14, 2021 - World

China accuses U.S. of "pointing fingers" over COVID probe

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Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

China on Sunday accused the U.S. of "pointing fingers," following a statement from the Biden administration alleging that Beijing may have meddled into the World Health Organization's probe into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What they're saying: "What the U.S. has done in recent years has severely undermined multilateral institutions, including the WHO," China wrote in a statement from its embassy in D.C. It added that the U.S. has "gravely damaged international cooperation on COVID-19."

  • "But the U.S., acting as if none of this had ever happened, is pointing fingers at other countries who have been faithfully supporting the WHO and at the WHO itself."
"With such a track record, how can it win the confidence of the whole world? It is hoped that the U.S. will hold itself to the highest standards, take a serious, earnest, transparent and responsible attitude, shoulder its rightful responsibility, support the WHO's work with real actions and make due contribution to the international cooperation on COVID-19. The whole world will be looking."
— Statement from the Chinese embassy

The backdrop: The statement comes after National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan expressed "deep concerns" that the Chinese government may have intervened or altered the findings of the investigation.

  • The WHO team ultimately concluded that it's "extremely unlikely" the virus came from a laboratory accident, and that it most likely jumped to humans via an intermediate species.
  • The investigation had been agreed to last May, but it was delayed after Chinese officials withheld authorization to allow the international team's scheduled visit, drawing a rare rebuke from WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

What's new: U.K. foreign minister Dominic Raab on Sunday said he shares the U.S.' concern about the WHO's probe.

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