Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian speaks at a daily regular news conference in Beijing. （Photo/fmprc.gov.cn）
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday that the United States cares nothing about facts or truth, but only about how to exhaust and smear China by launching an investigation over the so-called "lab leak theory" that presumes China is guilty.
Zhao made the remark after media reports cited informed sources as saying that the U.S. intelligence agency still intends to release a report that makes up misleading conclusions over the COVID-19 origins, despite the lack of concrete proof, and that high-level U.S. officials believe the real purpose is to hype up the origin investigation with the aim of exhausting China's diplomatic resources and increasing U.S. leverage regarding China.
"If the media reports are true, the U.S. report will be a statement of confession that shows that Washington is deliberately applying presumption of guilt," Zhao told reporters at a regular news briefing in Beijing.
According to the Global Times, Washington is ramping up pressure to coerce international scientists and to rope in allies and World Health Organization members to smear China over virus origins to beat the 90-day deadline for intelligence officials set by U.S. President Joe Biden in May.
The newspaper said it was told by a source that the U.S. administration will collude with the European Union, Australia and Japan to issue a statement on the second phase of investigation. The statement will urge the Chinese government to reflect on its decision to refuse to participate in the U.S.-led second stage of the WHO virus origin tracing work and will call on China to "shoulder responsibility" and "take action", the source said.
The spokesman said that by going all out to smear China, the U.S. is trying to deflect the international community's attention from Fort Detrick in the U.S. and other bio labs it owns abroad.
"What is the U.S. trying to hide?" Zhao said, urging the U.S. to clear suspicion over these bio labs' relation to outbreaks of such diseases as plague, anthrax and Middle East respiratory syndrome.
The spokesman said that if the U.S. has nothing to hide, it should invite the WHO to carry out a COVID-19 origins investigation in the U.S., particularly at Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina.