Beijing-Vice-Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said China firmly opposes so-called international investigation based on the presumption of guilt regarding the origin of the COVID-19 virus, according to a transcript released on the Foreign Ministry’s website Thursday.
Le made the remarks in an exclusive interview with the National Broadcasting Corporation of the United States Tuesday.
“We are candid, and we are open. We support professional exchanges between scientists, including exchanges for reviewing and summarizing experiences,” Le said.
“What we oppose, however, is unfounded charges against China,” he said, adding that one should not accuse China first and then run so-called international investigations just to make up the evidence.
“We oppose politically-driven investigation for the purpose of stigmatizing China,” the vice-minister said.
Talking about the release of COVID-19 data, Le said what China has done can stand scrutiny and “there is no need for cover-ups.”
“This is all about real people. It is literally impossible to hide anything,” said the vice-minister. “On the contrary, some countries once said that COVID-19 was just a common flu, and in fact that is cover-up.”
“Now we are restoring economic activities across the board and have lifted travel restrictions on Wuhan. How could we have been confident in so doing if the case numbers were artificially lowered and not real?” he asked.
“China is a victim, not an accomplice to COVID-19,” he told the NBC, noting that a virus can come and go without any trace and appear in any place in the world.
Le said holding China accountable for the spread of COVID-19, or even demanding reparations from China, is “a preposterous political farce” without legal basis. “There is no international law that supports blaming a country simply for being the first to report a disease. Neither does history offer any such precedent.”
“The intention is nothing but shifting blame to China for the inadequate response of someone else. Blame game finds little support, and ends up nowhere,” he said.
The vice-minister praised the World Health Organization’s job in living up to its duties and responsibilities, saying its performance “has been widely applauded by the international community.”
“At this critical moment, what the United States needs to do is to focus on combating the virus, instead of opening fire at the WHO which is coordinating the international efforts in fighting the virus,” Le said, adding that by doing so, the United States actually has chosen to pit itself against the whole world.
He called on the two countries to put aside all the differences and disagreements at this critical and trying moment, and join hands to confront the common enemy, the virus.
Donald Trump’s accusation at the weekend that Beijing could have done more to prevent the deadly spread of the disease was met with fierce criticism from China’s state media.
The US people should realize from the pandemic “that the true enemy of the United States is COVID-19, not China,” Le said, adding that it is not a time for accusation and political manipulation, but a time for solidarity, for working together to combat the virus and tide over the difficulties.
“I believe that together we will win and together we will make a big difference for the world,” Le said.
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