China on Thursday said the World Health Organization (WHO) Secretariat unilaterally proposed a second-phase origins study of COVID-19 and its work plan is only for discussions among WHO member states and is subject to amendment.
"The responsibility of the Secretariat is to facilitate full consultation and agreement among member states, and it has no right to make decisions on its own," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a daily press briefing amid reports of China rejecting the WHO's next-phase work plan.
Zhao reiterated the work plan is inconsistent with the requirements of the resolution of the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA), which stipulates that the next-phase work plan needs to be led by WHO member states.
Many countries including China have voiced concerns and objections to the work plan, Zhao added.
He revealed that China had provided the WHO a work plan of further study on COVID-19 origins before the Secretariat's proposal.
The Chinese side stressed solid conclusions from the first-phase study on the issue should be respected, according to Zhao.
"If a clear conclusion has been reached, there's no need to conduct a repeated study," Zhao said. "The China-WHO joint research report has made it clear that a virus leak from a laboratory is 'very unlikely.'"
The spokesperson also noted China strongly opposed politicization of COVID-19 origins tracing and will continue joining real scientific study on the issue.