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White House says Biden and Xi discussed origins of COVID probe




WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden discussed the investigation into the origins of COVID-19 during a call Thursday with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, according to the White House.

“They have discussed a range of transnational issues, including COVID-19, and understanding its origins is of course a major concern for this administration,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday. “Yes, that was a raised topic, but I won’t go into details.”

Biden vowed last month to pressure China for answers on the origins of a pandemic that has now kill 4.8 million people in the world. Intelligence agencies said they could not resolve a debate over whether the virus emerged from a Chinese research lab without Beijing’s help. Read more

Beijing denies the US accusation that it did not cooperate with the investigation into the source of the pandemic. Read more

Thursday’s 90-minute call was the two leaders’ first meeting in seven months amid cold relations between the countries. Read more

A US official who spoke to Reuters on Thursday said Biden had no plans to raise the prospect of US retaliation or “costs” if China refuses to cooperate with the investigation or a series of others Questions.

For his part, Xi told Biden that the two countries should respect each other’s basic concerns and properly deal with their differences, state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

The outlet reported that Xi suggested to Biden that countries should continue contact and dialogue and cooperate on issues such as epidemic prevention and control and economic recovery, as well as major international and regional issues like change. climate.

Psaki described the call as respectful and outspoken, without sermon or condescension, intended to keep the channels of communication open between countries.

Climate and human rights were among the topics, she said, and although economic issues were discussed, they were “not an important part” of the appeal.

“It was not a call that aimed to produce end results,” according to Psaki.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal, Trevor Hunnicutt, Alexandra Alper and Shubham Kalia; Editing by Leslie Adler and Alistair Bell

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.




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