Washington [US], June 14 (ANI): After the conclusion of the much-awaited Group of Seven (G7) meeting in the UK, US President Joe Biden on Sunday called on China to act more responsibly in terms of international norms on human rights and transparency concerning the origins of COVID-19.
Speaking to reporters, Biden said: "I think China has to start to act more responsibly in terms of international norms on human rights and transparency. Transparency matters across the board."
"We haven't had access to the laboratories to determine whether or not -- and I have not reached a conclusion because our intelligence community is not certain yet whether or not this was a consequence of a -- from the marketplace of a bat, you know, interfacing with -- with animals in the environment that caused this -- this COVID-19, or whether it was an experiment gone awry in a laboratory," he added.
He further said that it was important to build to determine transparency and to avoid future pandemics in the world. "So we're trying to figure out at the G7 whether we could put together an international basis upon which we could have a bottom line with what the transparency accounted for," he said.
"I think there's plenty of action on China, and there's always something that you can -- I'm sure my colleagues think there's things they think they can improve that they wanted. But I'm satisfied," Biden also said.
Speaking on the G7 communique China's actions in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, Biden said: "I think it -- as you know, last time the G7 met, there was no mention of China. But this time, there is mention of China. The G7 explicitly agreed to call out human rights abuses in Xinjiang and in Hong Kong explicitly... to coordinate a common strategy to deal with China non-market policies that undermine competition. They've agreed -- and that's underway now -- how to do that."
The G7 leaders on Sunday called for a "timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened" investigation into the origins of COVID-19, including, as recommended by the experts' report, in China.
In the Carbis Bay communique, the G7 leaders said, "Strengthening transparency and accountability, including reiterating our commitment to the full implementation of, and improved compliance with, the International Health Regulations 2005. This includes investigating, reporting and responding to outbreaks of unknown origin. We also call for a timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including, as recommended by the experts' report, in China."
The lab leak theory has recently become the subject of renewed public debate after several prominent scientists called for a full investigation into the origins of the virus.
The hypothesis that the virus was accidentally leaked from the lab was largely disregarded by scientists in the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak. China has repeatedly denied that the lab was responsible for the outbreak. (ANI)