China has refused to allow international experts into the country to investigate the source of COVID-19 until a "final victory" is secured over the virus, according to Beijing's UN ambassador Chen Xu.
According to France 24, China's first priority is beating the pandemic, then countering "absurd and ridiculous" claims by the United States that the virus likely escaped from a Wuhan lab known for experimenting with bat coronaviruses - which were modified for transmissibility to humans in highly criticized experiments.
"The top priority, for the time being, is to focus on the fight against the pandemic until we win the final victory," said Chen, adding " We need the right focus and allocation of our resources."
Chen hit back against claims that China was against the international probe, insisting that Beijing isn't "allergic to any kind of investigations, inquiries or evaluations," according to the report.
"We need to race with time to save lives as much as we can," he added. "For whether or how the invitation will take place, we need to have the right priority setting at this moment, and on the other hand, we need the right atmosphere."
US President Donald Trump has been increasingly critical, saying last week he had seen evidence linking Covid-19 to a maximum-security virology lab in Wuhan and threatening new trade tariffs.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday renewed criticism of Beijing’s handling of the outbreak.
"China could have spared the world a descent into global economic malaise. They had a choice but instead – instead - China covered up the outbreak in Wuhan," Pompeo told reporters.
"China is still refusing to share the information we need to keep people safe," Pompeo added. -France 24
This past weekend, Secretary Pompeo said there was "enormous evidence" that the coronavirus escaped from the Wuhan lab. On Wednesday, China said Pompeo "doesn't have any" evidence.
"I think this matter should be handed to scientists and medical professionals, and not politicians who lie for their own domestic political ends," said foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying during a press briefing in Beijing.
On Monday, President Trump told the New York Post that China is to blame for their failure to stop COVID-19 from spreading.
"Well, it got out of that area, and it shouldn’t have," he said, adding "It shouldn’t have been allowed to have gotten out because it got out and went all over the world. So that shouldn’t have taken place, and [China] should have never allowed it to happen."