China Says U.S. 'Damaged Cooperation' on COVID Amid Accusations of Withholding Data

China said the U.S. has "damaged international cooperation" on the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, amid accusations of China withholding data from the World Health Organization (WHO).

"The WHO is an authoritative multilateral international organization in the field of health, not a funfair where one can come and go at will," the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. said in a release, criticizing the U.S. for suspending funding and withdrawing from the WHO last year only to rejoin under President Joe Biden's administration.

"What the U.S. has done in recent years has severely undermined the multilateral institutions, including the WHO, and gravely damaged international cooperation on COVID-19," the release continued. "But the U.S., acting as if none of this had ever happened, is pointing fingers at other countries who have been faithfully supporting the WHO and at the WHO itself."

The embassy added: "It is hoped that the U.S. will hold itself to the highest standards, take a serious, earnest, transparent, and responsible attitude, shoulder its rightful responsibility, support the WHO's work with real actions and make due contributions to the international cooperation on COVID-19."

"The whole world will be looking," the release concluded.

Workers wearing protective gear are seen in
Workers are shown above wearing protective gear at the compounds of The Jade Boutique Hotel, where members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic completed their quarantine, in Wuhan, China on January 28, 2021. Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images/Getty

The Chinese Embassy's remarks were in response to a statement made by Jake Sullivan, the White House national security advisor, on Saturday.

Sullivan said that Washington had "deep concerns about the way in which the early findings of the COVID-19 investigation were communicated and questions about the process used to reach them."

"It is imperative that this report be independent, with expert findings free from intervention of alteration by the Chinese government," Sullivan said, referring to the WHO's mission investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

"To better understand this pandemic and prepare for the next one, China must make available its data from the earliest days of the outbreak," Sullivan continued. "Going forward, all countries, including China, should participate in a transparent and robust process for preventing and responding to health emergencies."

The WHO investigation team visited key sites in Wuhan, the initial epicenter of COVID-19, including the Huanan seafood market, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and a laboratory at the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The mission was met with criticism, as some said China refused to give the researchers access to the early date regarding COVID-19, according to a report by The New York Times.

In response to The Times report, Peter Daszak, one of the researchers on the WHO mission, tweeted Saturday that he found "trust" and "openness" from his Chinese counterparts, and did get access to "critical new data" that increased understanding of the virus.

This was NOT my experience on @WHO mission. As lead of animal/environment working group I found trust & openness w/ my China counterparts. We DID get access to critical new data throughout. We DID increase our understanding of likely spillover pathways.

— Peter Daszak (@PeterDaszak) February 13, 2021

Thea Koelsen Fischer, another researcher on the mission, echoed Daszak's comments in a Saturday tweet, saying that there was a "good relationship" between the Chinese and international experts.

This was NOT my experience either on the Epi-side. We DID build up a good relationsship in the Chinese/Int Epi-team! Allowing for heated arguments reflects a deep level of engagement in the room. Our quotes are intendedly twisted casting shadows over important scientific work.

— Thea K Fischer, Prof. i PH Virus Inf. og Epidemier (@TheaKFischer) February 13, 2021

Newsweek reached out to the White House and the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C., but didn't hear back in time for publication.