Blinken calls on China to cooperate in 'getting to bottom' of Covid origins

The United States needs to delve deeper into the origins of COVID-19 and hold China accountable, said Antony Blinken in an interview aired amid calls for a fresh probe into the origins of the virus

Antony Blinken. Photo: Bloomberg

The United States needs to delve deeper into the origins of COVID-19 and hold China accountable, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in an interview aired on Sunday amid calls for a fresh probe into the origins of the virus.

"The most important reason we have to get to the bottom of this is that's the only way we're going to be able to prevent the next pandemic or at least do a better job in mitigating it," Blinken said in an interview with Axios which was aired on HBO.

Amid criticism surrounding the inconclusive international probe into the virus' origins, Blinken said that the Joe Biden administration is determined to "get to the bottom" of the origins of the novel coronavirus.

On the issues of transparency of information on the virus, State Secretary told Axios that China has not "given us the transparency we need" and needs to be held accountable. He called on Beijing to make available all information relating to the pandemic and allow full access for international inspectors.

On Saturday, Former US President Donald Trump had called on America and all the nations to demand reparations from China due to the damage caused by COVID-19.

Speaking at the North Carolina Republican Convention, Trump said: "The time has come for America and the world to demand reparations and accountability from the Communist Party of China. We should all declare within one voice that China must pay. They must pay."

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"In addition, all nations should work together to present China for a bill of minimum USD 10 trillion to compensate for the damage they have caused and that is a very low number, the damage is far far greater. As a first step, all countries should collectively cancel any debt that they owe to China as a downpayment on reparations," he said at the convention.

This recent push to get unearth more information on COVID-19 has come after Biden ordered the US intelligence community to produce a report re-examining the origins of the novel coronavirus and to help determine whether the disease leaked from a lab or spread from an infected animal to a human.

After the Biden administration's push to "redouble their efforts" to come to a conclusion on the origins of COVID-19, China appears to be on the backfoot and hit back at the US saying that it does not care about real facts.

"Some people in the US completely ignore facts and science, do not pay attention to ambiguous parts of their own research and their failures in the fight against the pandemic, over and over making the buzz that a re-investigation needs to be conducted regarding China," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said last month.

First Published: Jun 07 2021 | 8:21 AM IST