China's request for investigation into Fort Detrick is reasonable and legitimate,  not 'contradictory' to its rejection of lab leak theory: FM
Published: Aug 26, 2021 06:26 PM Updated: Aug 27, 2021 06:22 PM
China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin. Photo: VCG

China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin. Photo: VCG

China's demand for an investigation into Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina (UNC) labs is reasonable and legitimate rather than "contradictory" to its rejection of lab leak theory. The US should just open up its labs for international investigations if it sticks to the theory, said Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday. 

China's request to investigate Fort Detrick and the UNC labs in the US is to tell people based on facts whether the lab leak theory promoted by the US is credible, said the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin at a press conference. 

It is also an effort to eliminate interference from the US in politicizing virus origins tracing, and to provide favorable conditions for scientists when doing the research, he said.

The US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick Photo: AP

The US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick Photo: AP

On the issue of tracing the origins of the virus, Chinese and the World Health Organization (WHO) experts came to a conclusion that it is highly unlikely that the virus leaked from the Wuhan laboratory and most scientists around the world, including those in the US, believe that there is no evidence to support the lab leak theory, Wang said.

Wang said that it is the US that does not accept the scientific conclusion and insists that the virus was leaked from the Wuhan laboratory. 

"Wuhan Institute of Virology received WHO experts two times, while Fort Detrick and UNC labs have a long history in coronavirus research and terrible safety records," he said.

If the US insists on the lab leak theory, then it should open Fort Detrick to the international community for investigations. And if the WHO Secretariat insists that there is a possibility of lab leak, then the organization should go to Fort Detrick, he said.

"But regrettably, we have not heard of such plans from the WHO Secretariat so far. We have submitted a joint letter signed by more than 25 million Chinese netizens requesting an investigation of Fort Detrick to the WHO Secretariat, from whom we have not received any response," he said.

Michael Ryan, the head of the WHOesting an investigies program, said on Wednesday that the "current situation is that all of the hypotheses regarding to the origins of the virus are still on the table," reported The Guardian.

"Some are more likely than others based on the current analysis, but all of those hypotheses require further elucidation and further inquiry and we will go and look where all of those leads take the WHO," she said.
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