China says it’s been ‘open and transparent’ about COVID-19 origins – National

China on Tuesday said it was “open and transparent” in investigating the causes of the COVID-19 pandemic, dismissing US criticism of politicizing the issue.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Mao Ningmao said at a press conference that China “has shared the most data and research results on virus tracing and has made important contributions to global virus tracing research.”

“Politicalizing the issue of tracking the virus does not denigrate China, it only undermines the credibility of the United States itself,” Mao said, citing U.S. officials who said China was not fully cooperative. He said in response to a complaint from a member of parliament.

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Her comments come amid ongoing questions about how the virus, which has killed more than 6.8 million people worldwide, first emerged.

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Most recently, the U.S. Department of Energy assessed “low confidence” that the pandemic, first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, began with the virus leaking from a laboratory. The report has not been published.

Others in the U.S. intelligence community disagree, citing disagreements within the government. “There is absolutely no intelligence agency consensus,” said John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, on Monday.

Click to play video: 'Shanghai under full COVID-19 lockdown'

Shanghai under full COVID-19 lockdown

The US Department of Energy’s conclusions were first reported in The Wall Street Journal over the weekend. Classified reports are based on new information and are noted in the 2021 document update. DOE oversees a national network of laboratories in the United States.

A White House official Monday declined to confirm press reports about the valuation.

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In 2021, the agency released a summary of its intelligence report, in which four members of the U.S. intelligence community believed with low confidence that the virus was first transmitted from animals to humans, and a fifth said: The first human infection was in the lab.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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