On Monday, the U.S. ambassador to China stated that the Chinese government must increase their level of transparency concerning the origins of COVID.
Beijing needs to “be more honest about what happened three years ago in Wuhan with the origin of the COVID-19 crisis,” Nicholas Burns told a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event.
The origin of the pandemic has been attributed by the U.S. Department of Energy to a potential leak from a research lab in Wuhan, however, this conclusion was reached with only a “low” level of confidence and other agencies hold differing opinions.
“There is not a consensus right now in the U.S. government about exactly how COVID started,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Monday. “There is just not an intelligence community consensus.”
Burns emphasized the importance of China’s contribution in bolstering the World Health Organization to enhance global healthcare. However, he mentioned that the recent dispute over the alleged Chinese spying balloon was unproductive.
The U.S. military shot down the balloon when it crossed American airspace, but Chinese officials denied any intention of using it for espionage purposes.
“We’re now in this surreal moment where the Chinese, who I think lost the debate over the balloon globally, lost influence and credibility around the world because of what they’ve done — they’re now blaming this on us,” Burns said, according to Reuters.
“It’s a little bit Orwellian,” he added. “And it’s a little bit frustrating, because I think everybody knows the truth here.”
Chinese officials have denied any possibility of the virus escaping from a lab and instead referred to a WHO report from earlier in the pandemic that concluded COVID originated from animals and spread through a wet market.