White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement that it is imperative that the report be independent and free from “alteration by the Chinese government”, echoing concerns raised by the administration of former President Donald Trump, who also moved to quit the WHO over the issue.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy fired back with a strongly-worded statement, saying the United States had damaged multilateral cooperation and the WHO in recent years, and should not be “pointing fingers” at China and other countries that supported the WHO during the COVID-19 pandemic.
China welcomed the U.S. decision to reengage with the WHO, but Washington should hold itself to the “highest standards” instead of taking aim at other countries, the spokesperson said.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday said all hypotheses were still open about the origins of COVID-19, after Washington said it wanted to review data from a WHO-led mission to China, where the virus first emerged.
A WHO-led mission, which spent four weeks in China probing the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak, said this week that it was not looking further into the question of whether the virus escaped from a lab, which it considered highly unlikely.
The extent to which China had acquired deep influence within the W.H.O. — amounting almost to a takeover — before the coronavirus outbreak is a bit of circumstantial evidence that they were planning something nefarious.
Anyway, I’m delighted to see the Biden Administration making a stink about this, and hope they’ll continue to press the subject.