China dismisses Mike Pompeo's call for access to Wuhan lab where COVID-19 outbreak may have begun

The Chinese foreign ministry countered the growing criticism, saying some US politicians were trying to divert the attention from their own failures in handling the crisis by blaming Beijing


                            China dismisses Mike Pompeo's call for access to Wuhan lab where COVID-19 outbreak may have begun
Mike Pompeo and Xi Jinping (Getty Images)

The controversy between the US and China over the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic refuses to die down. The US has continued to increase its pressure on the Asian power alleging that the coronavirus originated in one of its labs in Wuhan, the city which was hit first. It has also accused China of not being transparent and allowing the virus to endanger the entire world. The state of Missouri has even filed a lawsuit against the Chinese government for the massive losses the pandemic has caused on its soil. And now, Beijing has denied international inspectors any access to the lab to assess whether the dangerous pathogens accidentally leaked from there.

According to Fox News that reported China’s latest non-cooperation, the US is conducting a probe into whether the virus originated from a lab and not a wet market as it is commonly believed. It cited Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, stated on Thursday, April 23, that some American politicians were spreading lies to discredit China and its anti-epidemic efforts to confuse people and divert attention from their own failures in handling the crisis. According to John Hopkins University's coronavirus tracker, more than 869,000 people have been affected by the virus in the US while its death toll was nearing 50,000 when this report was published.

China, on the other hand, had an initial outbreak but did stabilize after a point. Currently, it has over 83,000 cases and around 4,600 deaths. However, the US leadership believes that China is hiding the actual numbers though Beijing rubbished the claim.

“Any objective person will see that some US politicians have been peddling lies that discredit China's anti-epidemic efforts to fuddle people's minds and deflect attention from the fact that they fell short of fulfilling their own anti-epidemic responsibilities,” Shuang said.

His statement came as a response to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who pressed China for inspections at the controversial Wuhan Institute of Virology and other labs where scientists study pathogens, including coronavirus. 

China has to handle their lab work safely: Pompeo

Pompeo said on Wednesday, April 22, that there are several labs in China that handle these things and it is important that they are handled safely so that no accidental leak happens. “We have to make sure that the Chinese Government is handling those materials in an appropriate way not only in the Wuhan Institute of Virology but elsewhere,” he said.

While US officials said they have ruled out the possibility of a man-made coronavirus being used as a bioweapon, they believe that it was part of Beijing’s effort towards proving that its capacity to identify and combat viruses is equal or even better than that of the US. 
 
Some of the officials are convinced that China hid the virus and the World Health Organization (WHO) knew about it. The WHO has been caught in the crossfire as President Donald Trump accused it of being biased towards China and cut off fund supply to the health agency. Pompeo also slammed the agency on 'The Ingraham Angle' on Wednesday, saying it failed to cooperate with the US to gather important data from the Chinese. 

“Look, we know it began at one [lab], but we need to figure this out,” the Republican said, adding: “There's an ongoing pandemic. We still don't have the transparency and openness we need in China.”

China, meanwhile, promised to donate $30 million to the WHO in addition to $20 million in cash donation.