China Accuses Biden of 'Stoking Confrontation' With Intelligence Investigation Into COVID Origin

Amid escalating tension between China and the United States, Beijing criticized President Joe Biden's request that the intelligence community "double down" on its efforts to find the origin of the COVD-19 outbreak.

Many have been skeptical about China's ability to be transparent about the pandemic, including White House officials who believe Beijing's hidden some information. The U.S. intelligence community can't rule out the Wuhan Institute of Virology as the origin point and last week, Biden instructed them to identify specific questions that China needs to answer.

On Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin accused the United States' investigation of "stoking confrontation and sowing division."

The pandemic's done little to help an already strained relationship between the two countries and Biden's push for further investigation marked a distinct shift in the administration's narrative. While China's criticized the United States for politicizing the virus, the administration appears to be pushing ahead with the investigation, which Biden put a 90-day deadline on.

"We are not going to allow Chinese obfuscation to dictate the work that we need to do to protect the public health of the American people," a senior administration official previously told Newsweek.

joe biden china investigation
China criticized President Joe Bide for "stoking confrontation" by directing the Intelligence Community to continue its investigation into theCOVID-19 origin. Biden delivers remarks on the conflict in the Middle East from Cross- Hall of the White House on May 20 in Washington, D.C. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

In defending its lab against the push for an investigation, China's often cited a report authored by an international team of experts who visited China earlier this year. Led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the team consisted of 12 international experts and 13 Chinese experts.

The report found the most likely scenario to be that COVID-19 is naturally occurring and the least likely scenario to be that it originated in a laboratory. China's taken this as an exoneration of the lab, but Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, raised concerns about the team's lack of access to raw data and supported additional studies, as the source had not been identified with full confidence.

By having the intelligence community investigate the origin, Wang said the United States is "wantonly criticizing" the WHO experts and "gravely" disrupting international cooperation.

"We urge a handful of countries including the U.S. to immediately halt their politicization and stop sabotaging international cooperation in origins study for hidden political agenda," Wang said.

China vehemently pushed back on any notion that the lab was the source of the outbreak and attempted to shift focus for the pandemic to other countries. Chinese state media pushed a study that alluded to Italy as the starting point of the pandemic and officials urged the WHO to investigate Spain as the possible origin.

Chinese officials have also attempted to point the blame at the United States. Citing no evidence, it's peddled the possibility that COVID-19 originated at Fort Detrick, an army installation in Maryland that's used for research. Deflecting calls for China to be transparent, Wang pushed the U.S. to invite international experts to Fort Detrick for an investigation.

Newsweek reached out to the National Security Council for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.