Washington expresses 'concern' about WHO investigation in China


Published: 2021-02-13 18:42

Last Updated: 2024-06-11 12:55

Source: Al Jazeera
Source: Al Jazeera

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday that the United States has "deep concern" about how China responded to the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis and is waiting for Beijing to "reveal its data related to the beginning of the outbreak."

His statements came days after the return of an investigation team of the World Health Organization from Wuhan, China, where the pandemic first appeared, without announcing any conclusions about the source of the Coronavirus.

The team’s mission appeared to be highly sensitive, as the United States called for a "robust" investigation while China warned against politicizing the issue.

"We have deep concern about the way in which the first conclusions of the investigation on COVID-19 were reached and questions about the process," Sullivan said.

"This report should be independent and the experts’ conclusions be free from any interference or modification by the Chinese government, "he said.

He also called on Beijing to "disclose its data related to the beginning of the outbreak."

Despite their failure to reveal the source of the virus more than a year after its appearance, the group of foreign experts agreed that it most likely passed from bats to a type of animal that had not been identified before transmission to humans.

The team noted that the hypothesis of a laboratory leak in Wuhan, which former US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talked about repeatedly, is "highly unlikely."

Beijing has repeatedly proposed the theory that the virus reached China through product packages such as frozen fish, a hypothesis that the international body team did not rule out.

Sullivan expressed his "deep respect" for the World Health Organization, which the United States will rejoin after the Trump administration withdrew from it in protest of how China is dealing with the early stages of the outbreak.

"Resuming engagement with the World Health Organization also means expecting the highest standards from it," Sullivan said. "At this critical time, protecting WHO's credibility is a top priority."

Also read: Coronavirus leak from Wuhan laboratory 'extremely unlikely': WHO research team