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2020-05-04

UK says China has questions to answer about the outbreak of coronavirus

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In recent days, the United States has scaled up its rhetoric with the U.S. over China's guilt for the novel coronavirus. State Secretary Mike Pompeo said there was evidence of the disease emerging from a Chinese laboratory on Sunday.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the virus was not genetically modified or man-made. So far, Washington has not publicly presented any evidence that the virus originated from a laboratory that Beijing strongly denies.

The Australian Telegraph reported that in a 15-page research dossier, the U.S .- led Five Eyes intelligence consortium had stated that China had deliberately suppressed or destroyed evidence of coronavirus outbreak in a "international transparency assault" that cost tens of thousands of lives.

The Five Eyes groups intelligence services from the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said: "I get intelligence bulletins from all over the world every day from our agencies. I'm not commenting on the individual bulletins, what I've seen and didn't. That'd be wrong.

When asked if China had questions about how quickly it made the world aware of the scale of the crisis, Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace said: "I think it does."

"China needs to be open and transparent about what it leant, it's shortcomings but it's also successes," Wallace said, adding that after the outbreak, the time for a post mortem was up.

Reuters did not see the Five Eyes dossier, and could not verify the Australian Telegraph report immediately. One Western source of intelligence has said it has now been widely accepted that China was not fully transparent.

CHINA

U.S. On Thursday President Donald Trump said he was confident that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese virology lab. In an interview on Wednesday, he told Reuters that he was looking at options regarding Beijing's consequences over the virus.

Pompeo said there was "significant amount of evidence" on Sunday that the new coronavirus had emerged from a Chinese laboratory, though he also said he did not dispute the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that it was not man-made.

The Australian Telegraph said the Five Eyes document accused China of endangering other countries by covering up virus news, silencing or "disappearing" doctors who spoke out, destroying laboratory evidence and refusing to provide live samples to international vaccine scientists.

"Virus samples ordered to be destroyed at genomics laboratories, wildlife market stalls bleached, the genome sequence not publicly shared, the Shanghai laboratory closure for 'rectification'," the Telegraph quoted the document as saying.

China has repeatedly denied covering up any details about the novel outbreak of coronavirus, and says Washington is pointing its finger because of its own flawed response. The United States has the world's most instances and fatalities.

"As we repeatedly point out, China has been openly, transparently and responsibly fighting COVID-19," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular daily briefing on April 24.

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