China says ‘open’ to international efforts to identify coronavirus source: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (Photo by AFP)
China says it is "open" to international cooperation to identify the accurate source of the new coronavirus, emphasizing that any investigation must be "free of political interference".

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the comments at a press conference on the sidelines of an annual parliament meeting on Sunday, following the United States and Australia’s call for a probe into the origins of the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

"China is open to working with the international scientific community to look into the source of the virus," Wang said.

"At the same time, we believe that this should be professional, fair and constructive," he added.

"Fairness means the process be free of political interference, respect the sovereignty of all countries, and oppose any presumption of guilt."

Since the flu-like pathogen broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December, Beijing and Washington have clashed over the virus spread and its origin, further increasing tensions between the world's two largest economies.

US President Donald Trump keeps referring to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as the Chinese virus. Beijing has hit back by suggesting that the US military brought the virus to Wuhan and initiated the outbreak.

Trump has over the past weeks claimed that there is evidence Beijing created the coronavirus in a medical lab in the Chinese city. This is while the US intelligence agencies say they have seen no evidence to show the virus is “man-made.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has on several occasions accused China of not being transparent and honest about the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
China has fiercely defended its handling of the new coronavirus, repeatedly saying it “has been nothing but open, transparent and responsible” in informing the WHO and affected countries about the pandemic.


Scientific studies have already suggested that the virus originated through natural processes.

Wang further blasted US politicians’ effort to "fabricate rumors" about the pathogen's origins and "stigmatize China".
He also urged the United States to stop wasting time in its fight against the virus deadly and rather than spreading lies and attacking China, share the Asian country’s experience in combating the epidemic.

"Regretfully, in addition to the raging coronavirus, a political virus is also spreading in the United States. This political virus is using every opportunity to attack and smear China," Wang said.

"Some politicians have ignored the most basic facts and concocted too many lies about China and plotted too many conspiracies," he added.

"I want to say here: Don't waste precious time any longer, and don't ignore lives."

"What China and the United States need to do the most is to first learn from each other and share their experience in fighting against the epidemic, and help each country fight it."

When asked if the relations between the US and China and would further worsen, the Chinese Foreign Minister said Beijing remains prepared to work with Washington in the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect.

"China has always advocated that, as the world's largest developing country and the largest developed country, both of us bear a major responsibility for world peace and development," he said.

"China and the United States stand to gain from cooperation, and lose from confrontation."

Since 2018, Washington and Beijing have been engaged in a trade war over issues such as cyber security, regulations, intellectual property, subsidies, and tariffs.

Economists warn that the ongoing trade war between the world’s two largest economies increases the risks of disrupting supply chains, curtailing investment and curbing business confidence in global markets.

More recently, the two top economies have also clashed over the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement and US support for Taiwan, which China claims full sovereignty over it.

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