Australia’s call for an independent, international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus in Wuhan has sparked outrage from China’s officials. Chen Wen, Minister and First Staff Member of Chinese Embassy, told BBC’s World at One demands such as these are purely “politically motivated”. She also said the requests would “divert” attention and resources from the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.
On the inquiry demand, Ms Chen told Radio 4: “Well I cannot agree with that.
“Of course, we will always want to know where the virus comes from.
“It could happen anywhere at anytime in the world.
“All the people want to know the origin of this virus.”
She continued: “The independent inquiry is politically motivated.
“One, we are fighting the virus at the moment. When we are concentrating our efforts on fighting against the virus, why are we talking about an investigation into this?
“This will divert our attention and divert our resources, and this is clearly a politically motivated initiative.
“I think no one can agree with this kind of politically motivated investigation, and it will serve nobody any good.”
China’s chief ambassador to the UK also hit back at the United States, saying that Washington should not seek to “bully” Beijing.
During a rare question and answer session, Liu Xiaoming dismissed claims of a Chinese cover-up of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Liu accused Western countries of “gunboat diplomacy” and called on the world to work together to put lives first.
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He told the BBC: “I hear quite a lot of this speculation of disinformation about China covering up or hiding something. This is not true.
“This is not the era of gunboat diplomacy, this is not the era when China was still a semi-feudal society, this is the 21st century.
“These people still live in the old days, they think they can bully China, they think they can bully the world.
“China is not an enemy of the United States. If they regard China as an enemy, I think they choose the wrong target.
“China is a friend of the United States, China is a partner of the United States in fighting against the virus.”
China has been criticised for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan towards the end of last year.
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