China rejects need for further WHO coronavirus origins probe
- On Thursday the WHO urged China to share raw data from the earliest Covid-19 cases to revive its probe into the origins of the disease.
China on Friday rejected the World Health Organization's calls for a renewed probe into the origins of Covid-19, saying it supported "scientific" over "political" efforts to find out how the virus started.
Pressure is once more mounting on Beijing to consider a fresh probe into the orgins of a pandemic which has killed more than four million people and paralysed economies worldwide since it first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
A WHO team of international experts went to Wuhan in January 2021 to produce a first phase report, which was written in conjunction with their Chinese counterparts. It failed to find a conclusive position on how the virus began.
On Thursday the WHO urged China to share raw data from the earliest Covid-19 cases to revive its probe into the origins of the disease.
China hit back, repeating its position that the initial investigation was enough and that calls for further data were motivated by politics instead of scientific inquiry.
"We oppose political tracing ... and abandoning the joint report" issued after the WHO expert team's Wuhan visit in January, vice foreign minister Ma Zhaoxu told reporters. "We support scientific tracing."
That report said the virus jumping from bats to humans via an intermediate animal was the most probable scenario, while a leak from the Wuhan virology labs was "extremely unlikely".
Ma rejected suggestions of new lines of investigation.
"The conclusions and recommendations of WHO and China joint report were recognised by the international community and the scientific community," he said.
"Future global traceability work should and can only be further carried out on the basis of this report, rather than starting a new one."
Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf supporters and the Lahore Police clashed on Wednesday as the former managed to push their way through the containers deployed on the streets and braved tear gas shelling after answering the ousted prime minister's call for a long march onto Islamabad.
Chinese President Xi Jinping defended China's record in a meeting with UN's top human rights official on Wednesday, saying there is no “flawless utopia” and criticised countries that lecture others on human rights and politicise the issue. Xi and Bachelet meeting comes in the backdrop of fresh allegations of systemic abuse carried out by the Chinese government against the minority Muslim UIghurs in Xinjiang. Beijing has denied the allegations.
Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has written to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to urge India to acquit Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik from all charges and ensure his immediate release from prison so that he can be reunited with his family.
Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday said he anticipated a day when his country could engage India not just for diplomatic reasons but also economic. Zardari was quoted by news agency PTI as acknowledging Pak's relations with India have not been 'moving forward'. The minister said the best way forward on domestic and international levels is to leave aside political bickering and explore and unlock his country's huge untapped potential.
A new satellite-based initiative that will link naval facilities in India, Singapore and the South Pacific and allow Indo-Pacific countries to track illegal fishing and “dark shipping” is one of the most significant steps taken by the Quad since its revival in 2017. These initiatives appear clearly aimed at positioning the Quad, which groups India, Australia, Japan and the US, as a counterweight to China's increasing influence and assertive in the region.