Dominic Raab has warned against western countries “politicising” the probe into the origins of Covid against China as this would make it harder to find concrete answers.
The foreign secretary told MPs today that there needs to be a “transparent, science led approach” to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) investigation into how Covid-19 originated, while emphasising that China’s cooperation is key to get any answers at all.
The WHO’s initial investigation into the origins of Covid-19 proved to be inconclusive, with further work soon to begin.
The organisation has complained that the Chinese government was not forthcoming in providing data and information that could uncover where the virus came from.
Raab told parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee today that the UK and other western nations should not be too aggressive or combative against China during the investigation.
“We’ve got to try and avoid this being so politicised against the Chinese that you don’t get any of the cooperation we need for it to be credible or meaningful,” he said.
“And also to scare off those countries, particularly in the region who want the same answers you or I want, but are a bit nervous in the politicised way it was handled previously.
“How do you make it as credible as possible to get the results that you want?”
US President Joe Biden recently ordered a more thorough probe by American intelligence into whether the virus accidentally escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology – a belief that was held by the Donald Trump White House.
Biden said US intelligence opinion on the lab leak theory is split.
Raab said last month that the latest intelligence he had pointed away from this theory, but that work still continues.
Speaking to journalists at the G7 summit last month, WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “More than 174m people have been confirmed for Covid illness…3.75m people have died – this is very tragic.
“I think the respect people deserve is knowing what the origin of this virus is, so we can prevent it from happening again.
“We need cooperation from the Chinese side, we need transparency to understand and find the origin of this virus.”