US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has launched a scathing attack against China for a lack of transparency during “the early stages” of the coronavirus pandemic and called for a more thorough investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
According to a report by AP, Blinken’s remarks come as a report of a joint inquiry by the World Health Organization and China published last month did not conclusively establish how or when the virus began spreading and did little to address Western concerns that the Chinese Communist Party bent the investigation to its advantage.
“I think China knows that in the early stages of COVID, it didn’t do what it needed to do, which was to give access to international experts, in real-time to share information, in real-time to provide real transparency,” said Blinken in an interview with Chuck Todd of NBC, as per the transcript by the US Department of State.
The top US diplomat stated that one result of that failure is that the virus got out of hand faster and with. “I think, much more egregious results than it might otherwise,” he said.
“As we’re dealing with COVID-19, we also have to put in place a stronger global health security system to make sure that this doesn’t happen again or, if it does happen again, we’re able to mitigate it, to get ahead of it. And that means making a real commitment to transparency, to information sharing, to access for experts. It means strengthening the World Health Organization and reforming it so it can do that. And China has to play a part in that,” Blinken added.
When asked about whether Washington is going to guarantee to the world that we’re going to get to the bottom of how this originated, the top diplomat agreed with the same and stated that “we need to get to the bottom of this”.
“I think we have to, because we need to do that precisely so we fully understand what happened in order to have the best shot possible at preventing it from happening again. That’s why we need to get to the bottom of this,” he said.