US to China: Cooperate on Covid origin probes or face isolation

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Washington, June 21 (IANS) China must cooperate with fresh probes into the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, else face “isolation in the international community”, Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser has said.
US President Biden had, last month, ordered intelligence agencies to reinvestigate the origins of the Covid pandemic in China as a way to prevent future pandemics.
Led by Biden, world leaders at the recently concluded G7 also pushed for a ‘transparent’ investigation into the origins of Covid.
“It is that diplomatic spadework — rallying the nations of the world, imposing political and diplomatic pressure on China, that is a core part of the effort we are undertaking to ultimately face China with a stark choice: Either they will allow, in a responsible way, investigators in to do the real work of figuring out where this came from, or they will face isolation in the international community,” Sullivan told Fox News on Sunday.
However, the Biden administration will not take a hard line with China about cooperating in the investigations, Sullivan told CNN’s “State of the Union,” on Sunday.
“We are not at this point going to issue threats or ultimatums. What we’re going to do is continue to rally support in the international community,” Sullivan said.
“And if it turns out that China refuses to live up to its international obligations, we will have to consider our responses at that point,” he added.
The approach to determine whether the deadly virus began in a Chinese lab would follow “two tracks” — intelligence community assessment ordered by President Biden and an international investigation led by the World Health Organisation, Sullivan noted.
“I will repeat what I said before, we’re not going to simply accept China saying no, but we will work between now and when this second phase of the WHO investigation is fully underway to have as strong a consensus in the international community as possible, because it is from that position of strength that we will best be able to deal with China,” he was quoted as saying.
Earlier this month, a WHO advisory board member said that China continues to stifle any examination that Covid began in the lab.

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