China risks international ‘isolation’ if it fails to allow ‘real’ probe into Covid origin, say Biden aides

National security adviser echoes president’s warning about effect on Beijing’s image

John Bowden
Monday 21 June 2021 22:00
National Security Adviser says US won't 'accept China saying no' on probe of Covid-19 origins

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on china-coronavirus-origin-investigation-g-7-fox-news-sunday">Fox News Sunday that China’s government would face “isolation” on the international stage should it continue to stonewall efforts to investigate the origins of Covid-19.

Speaking with host Chris Wallace, the top White House aide pointed to “diplomatic pressure” as the administration’s main vehicle for encouraging Beijing to allow further access to international experts.

"It is that diplomatic spadework – rallying the nations of the world, imposing political and diplomatic pressure on China, that is a core part of the effort we are undertaking to ultimately face China with a stark choice: either they will allow, in a responsible way, investigators in to do the real work of figuring out where this came from, or they will face isolation in the international community," Mr Sullivan said.

His remarks were echoed on Monday by White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who told reporters that Beijing was not eager to see the world’s governments “line up” against it over the issue of an investigation into Covid-19’s origins.

Their comments follow a World Health Organization-led expedition earlier this year into China to investigate the virus’s origins that came up with several theories without settling on a specific one. The team did fault China’s government at the time for not being forthcoming with Covid-19 data.

President Joe Biden indicated last week at a news conference following his meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin that Beijing’s international reputation was at risk over the pandemic, which is currently believed to have begun in the region of Wuhan. China’s government has faced international criticism over its initial handling of the outbreak, as well as its unwillingness to share information with international experts.

People of Asian descent have found themselves the targets of that backlash on many occasions, with states around the US reporting surges in anti-Asian violence and discrimination.

"China’s trying very hard to project itself as a responsible and very, very forthcoming nation," Mr Biden said, adding: “Look, certain things you don’t have to explain to the people of the world. They see the results. Is China really, actually trying to get to the bottom of this?"

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