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Chinese FM Spokesperson: The US Should Be Open, Transparent and Responsible, Respond to International Concerns on Its Research Activities in Bio-labs

2020-10-22

At a regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on October 21, Spokesperson Zhao Lijian answered a question about US research activities in bio-labs across the world.

Journalist: Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev said on October 20 that the US research activities in bio-labs in members of the Commonwealth of the Independent States have caused grave concern. The US not only builds bio-labs in these countries, but also tries to do so in other places across the world. However, its research lacks transparency and runs counter to the rules of the international community and international organizations. I wonder if you have a comment?

Zhao Lijian: This is not the first time the international community expressed concern to US biological militarization activities in other countries. China has repeatedly stressed that such activities are not transparent, safe or justified.

According to media reports, the US has set up many bio-labs in 25 countries and regions across the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia and former Soviet Union, with 16 in Ukraine alone. Some of the places where the labs are based have seen large-scale outbreaks of measles and other dangerous infectious diseases. USA Today reports that since 2003, hundreds of incidents involving accidental contact with deadly pathogens occurred in US bio-labs at home and abroad. This may cause the direct contacts to be infected, who can then spread the virus to communities and start an epidemic.

Why does the USč½buildso many bio-labs all over the world? Why is the effort led by the military? What is the purpose? How many sensitive biological resources and how much information has it gleaned from relevant countries? Do the labs conform with safety standards? Are there risks for leaks? Why is it that the US, for more than a decade, has been standing singly in the way of negotiations for a BWC protocol that includes a verification regime? Only the US government has the answers to these questions and the key to the truth.

The US should be open, transparent and responsible, respond to international concerns, faithfully implement its BWC obligations, clarify its biological militarization activities overseas and stop blocking negotiations for a protocol that includes a verification regime.

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