China says ‘laboratory leak’ claims damage US credibility – Times of India

BEIJING: Beijing on Wednesday accused Washington of damaging its own credibility after a top US intelligence official said his agency deemed the pandemic “highly likely” to be caused by a laboratory incident in Wuhan, China.
FBI director Christopher Wray told Fox News on Tuesday that the Bureau has now determined that the source of Covid-19 was “most likely a possible laboratory incident in Wuhan.”
Chinese officials have angrily denied the allegation, calling it a smear campaign against Beijing.
“The United States is once again fueling the lab leak theory, which will not discredit China, further reducing its own credibility,” a State Department spokesman said. Mao Ning told Wednesday at a regular briefing.
Wray’s comments come after a report earlier this week said the US Department of Energy determined a leak from a Chinese lab was the most likely cause of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The department’s findings are significant because it works with a network of national laboratories, including some that conduct advanced biological research.
But other agencies within the US intelligence community believe the virus originated naturally in the world.
In Tuesday’s interview, Wray also accused the Chinese government of trying to halt US efforts to investigate the causes of the pandemic.
“The Chinese government … has done its best to try to thwart and obscure the work here, the work we are doing, the work that our US government and close foreign partners are doing,” Wray said.
“And that’s unfortunate for everyone.”
During Wednesday’s press conference, Mao reiterated a longstanding and unsubstantiated Chinese claim that the virus could have escaped from the US military research lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
“The US should respect science and facts, cooperate with the World Health Organization as soon as possible, invite international experts to conduct traceability research in their country, and share research results with the international community,” she said.
The scientific community considers it crucial to find out the origin of the pandemic in order to better fight or even prevent the next one.

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