The Biden administration has said it believes Chinese officials “did not have foreknowledge” of COVID-19 before the initial outbreak emerged but have withheld information.
The 46th president has also claimed China continued to prevent international investigators from accessing key details on the ground.
U.S. President Joe Biden has said China continues to reject calls for transparency and is withholding information about the origins of COVID-19. Picture: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
“Critical information about the origins of this pandemic exists in the People’s Republic of China,” Mr Biden said in a statement.
“Yet from the beginning, government officials in China have worked to prevent international investigators and members of the global public health community from accessing it.”
According to the unclassified summary of an intelligence report, the US does not believe COVID-19 was created as a bioweapon. Most agencies have “low confidence” that it was not genetically manufactured.
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The report showed the majority found the origin of the virus was down to two options that proved the most plausible was “natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-associated incident”.
Four Intelligence Community elements and the National Intelligence Council found with “low confidence” that the initial COVID infection was caused by natural exposure to an animal with the virus.
The report’s summary concluded with a jab at China’s lack of cooperation with the investigation into the origins of the virus.
 “China’s cooperation most likely would be needed to reach a conclusive assessment of the origins of COVID-19,” it read.
“Beijing, however, continues to hinder the global investigation, resist sharing information and blame other countries, including the United States.”
‘The truth is now being uncovered’ on COVID-19 origins
In the wake of the summary report, Mr Biden slammed China for its lack of “transparency” and cooperation with investigating bodies.
“To this day, the PRC continues to reject calls for transparency and withhold information, even as the toll of this pandemic continues to rise,” he said.
“Responsible nations do not shirk these kinds of responsibilities to the rest of the world.”
The US president said his administration would work with “like-minded partners” to press China to share information about the origins of COVID-19 fully.
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“We will also continue to press the PRC to adhere to scientific norms and standards, including sharing information and data from the earliest days of the pandemic, protocols related to biosafety, and information from animal populations,” Mr Biden said in his statement.
“We must have a full and transparent accounting of this global tragedy. Nothing less is acceptable.”
A statement from the Chinese Embassy in the US in reply to the Intelligence Community’s report said it “wrongly claimed” that China hindered the investigation and resisted sharing information.
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“The statement by the White Hosue issued on the same day also purported that China tries to hold back international investigation and rejects calls for transparency,” it read.
“It urges like-minded partners to exert pressure on China. The Chinese side expresses its firm opposition and strong condemnation to this.”
The statement also claimed the US was “bent” on going down the wrong path of political manipulation, which would “disturb and sabotage international cooperation on origin-tracing”.

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