US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in contact with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on Friday stressed the need for cooperation and transparency about the origins of Covid-19 and raised other controversial topics, including the treatment of Uighur Muslims in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. .
Chinese state media said China’s top diplomat Yang expressed blinkered Chinese concern that some people in the United States were spreading a “nonsense story” about the coronavirus escaping a laboratory in Wuhan.
According to state broadcaster CCTV, Yang, the head of the Communist Party of China Central Foreign Affairs Commission, told Blinken that Washington should handle Taiwan’s issues “carefully and appropriately”.
The call came ahead of the G7 summit in the UK, attended by US President Joe Biden, which is expected to be dominated by Washington-led efforts to curb China’s growing influence.
The world’s two largest economies are divided over issues ranging from trade and technology to human rights and the coronavirus. Yang said Washington should work with Beijing to get relations back on track.
According to the US State Department, “While addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, the secretary underscored the importance of cooperation and transparency regarding the origin of the virus, including the need for a Phase 2 study conducted by experts in China by the World Health Organization.” also includes. “.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that a US government laboratory report on the origins of COVID-19 concluded that the hypothesis of a viral leak from the Wuhan laboratory was plausible and deserves further investigation.
“We call on the United States to respect facts and science, refrain from politicizing the issue, and focus on international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic,” Yang said.