Senior officials from the Trump administration have put pressure on U.S. intelligence agencies to provide evidence to support the allegation that the coronavirus outbreak originated in state laboratories in China, a New York Times report said.
Intelligence analysts fear that Donald Trump is looking for propaganda for the escalating guilt game, whether China has covered up the crisis or even generated the virus in its laboratories ̵
Most scientists who have studied the genetics of the corona virus provided by China say that the overwhelming likelihood is that it jumped from animal to human in an environment outside the laboratory, as was the case with previous pandemics.
The director of the National Intelligence Service said in a statement on Thursday that it had concluded that the virus was “not human-made or genetically modified,” but officials were still investigating whether the pandemic was caused by the virus Contact with infected people is due to animals or an accident in a Chinese laboratory.
“The intelligence community [IC] also agrees with the broad scientific consensus that the Covid 19 virus was not artificially produced or genetically modified, ”the statement said. “The IC will continue to closely examine information and evidence to determine whether the outbreak started due to contact with infected animals or whether it was the result of an accident in a laboratory in Wuhan.”
In recent days, Trump and his allies have sharpened their rhetoric towards China, accusing him of not acting quickly enough to stop the virus from spreading or sounding the alarm about the outbreak.
Reports that urge U.S. intelligence agencies to believe that the virus was created in Chinese laboratories include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger, and Richard Grenell, Acting Director of the national secret service.
In numerous television interviews, Pompeo said China suppressed information about the virus and withheld important facts from the World Health Organization, and suggested that the virus came from Chinese laboratories.
However, the suggestion that intelligence agencies be pressured to provide evidence is a step further than such comments. Such a finding would turn the international catastrophe into a kind of biological warfare or a laboratory accident of catastrophic proportions.
Over 1 million people have been infected and more than 60,000 have died of the virus in the United States, making Trump’s desire to shift the blame for the crisis to China politically more pressing.
China has opposed an international investigation into the causes of the Wuhan outbreak and says under pressure that it is up to the WHO to investigate. The proposal is unlikely to appease Trump, who condemns WHO as Chinese-centered and has suspended US funding from the UN agency pending a review.
Chris Patten, former governor-general of Hong Kong and long-time critic of China’s efforts to control democracy in the former colony, has joined calls for an international investigation and accused China of initially covering up the outbreak.
Demand for an investigation was strongest in Australia, leading to a diplomatic confrontation between Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Cheng Jingye, the Chinese ambassador to Australia. The calls were also supported by Winston Peters, New Zealand’s Secretary of State.
Peters said: “It is very difficult to imagine that not every country in the world – including the country of origin – has a request for an investigation to find out how this happened.”
Jingye has warned of a Chinese boycott of Australian goods and services.
Beijing has gotten into a crisis, and its diplomats sometimes say it is not even clear whether the virus is from China and claim that it is a legitimate matter for research by scientists, but then refuse an international investigation into the cause of the outbreak from. Chinese diplomats distinguish between an international investigation, which they say is likely to be a political guilt game, and a dispassionate review by WHO scientists.
Chinese critics counter that the WHO records show that they have neither the will nor the investigative powers necessary to look deeply into the Chinese Communist Party’s guts and uncover cover-ups. WHO relies on the cooperation of its member states to access it and has no mechanism to punish countries that keep their officials in the dark.
Proposals have been made to empower WHO to impose sanctions on countries that are not transparent. However, this proposal would have to adopt the WHO General Assembly and the transfer of some degree of sovereignty to a multilateral country by the nation-states requires bodies.
Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, extensively refuted the prospect of an international investigation last week. “You are talking about independent investigations. It is up to the WHO. We support the WHO. We believe that we should abide by international norms and international rules, not the rules of some other countries. Another country is even suing China before its district court. This is absurd, ”he said in a remark to the Asia Society in London.
“It is not the first time that some politicians want to play the world police. This is not the era of “gunboat diplomacy”. This is not the time when China was still in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. This is the third decade of the 21st century. These people can’t understand it. They think they are still alive when they can harass China and the world. If the WHO does not act in this way, they stop supporting and criticize the WHO as “China-centered”. It’s just not right.
“We therefore call for international cooperation. This is the only weapon and the only way out to win this fight against the virus. Not by scapegoating, not by playing, not by politicizing the virus, not by spreading a political virus. “