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Top US diplomat says ‘China has to cooperate’ with investigation into Covid’s origins

·2-min read
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that China needs to assist with the next look into the origins of covid following commitments made at the G7 (REUTERS)
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that China needs to assist with the next look into the origins of covid following commitments made at the G7 (REUTERS)

US secretary of state Antony Blinken has said that China “has to cooperate” with an additional US and World Health Organisation-led investigation into how the Covid-19 outbreak began.

He made the comments while being interviewed by John Dickerson on CBS’ Face The Nation on Sunday while emphasising the importance of Beijing joining in an investigation into what led to the virus that has disrupted the world for more than a year.

Mr Blinken said, “One of the things that’s coming out of the G7 is an insistence that the WHO be able to move forward with China cooperating on this so-called Phase-two report to build on the initial report, which had real problems with it, not the least of which was China’s failure to cooperate.”

He called on China to join the international effort to figure out what caused the coronavirus. The theory that it escaped from a lab in Wuhan has gained mainstream traction in recent weeks, with the Biden administration ordering an intelligence community investigation.

“China has to cooperate with that transparency, access for international experts, information sharing that has to happen. And again, I think you’re seeing countries coming together to insist on that,” he said.

“The main purpose is to make sure that knowing what happened, why it happened, how it happened, we can put in place what’s necessary to prevent it from happening again or at least to mitigate the next outbreak,” Mr Blinken added.

From 9 until 13 June, the president has been convening with other world leaders, such as UK prime minister Boris Johnson, French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel in St. Ives in Cornwall, UK. All seven countries vowed to eradicate forced labour from supply chains, combat cybercrime and tackle the pandemic.

They also urged China to honour “the high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong” and “human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially related to Xinjiang,” which is a concern of the international community for the way the Chinese government treats the Uyghur population.

A report published earlier this week by the human rights organisation Amnesty International show “detailed evidence of crimes against humanity, massive human rights violations, and a dystopian hellscape on a staggering scale”.

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