China has been told to 'be honest' when it comes to the origins of Covid after a US Energy Department analysis concluded the virus likely spread after a leak from a Chinese research lab in Wuhan.
The US ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns, called on Beijing to be more transparent after the Asian country's foreign ministry accused unnamed parties of a smear campaign.
'(China needs to) be more honest about what happened three years ago in Wuhan with the origin of the COVID-19 crisis,' Mr Burns said via video link to a US Chamber of Commerce event on Monday, local time.
He said tensions had escalated after the US shot down an alleged Chinese surveillance balloon that flew across North America earlier this month.
'We're now in this surreal moment where the Chinese, who I think lost the debate over the balloon globally, lost influence and credibility around the world because of what they've done — they're now blaming this on us,' Mr Burns said.
'It's a little bit Orwellian. And it's a little bit frustrating, because I think everybody knows the truth here.'
His comments came after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning gave a fierce warning to anyone pushing the theory Covid originated from a lab leak.
'Certain parties should stop rehashing the 'lab leak' narrative, stop smearing China and stop politicising origins-tracing,' she said during a press briefing on Monday.
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