National Sec Advisor: Admin Will Take No Immediate Action On China Until There Is International Consensus

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Yahoo News

President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the administration is seeking answers from China on the origins of COVID-19 with the international community.

Sullivan said the United States is working on two tracks on finding out the origins of the coronavirus, including an assessment by the intelligence community that Biden gave a 90-day deadline for and a second international investigation led by the World Health Organization.

“We are not, at this point, going to issue threats or ultimatums,” Sullivan said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “What we are going to do is continue to rally support in the international community, and if it turns out that China refuses to live up to its international obligations, we will have to consider our responses at that point, and we will do so in concert with allies and partners.”

Sullivan reaffirmed that the administration is “not going to simply accept China saying no” in refusing to answer questions as to how the virus came about but highlighted the importance of working with other nations to combat Beijing.

“In order to build the kind of international consensus around this issue that will be required to put additional pressure on China, that takes diplomatic spadework,” he said. “It’s spadework the president carried forward in a major way at the G-7, getting for the first time something the last administration could not get, which was the democratic world speaking out with one voice on this issue.”

Earlier this month, Biden and other world leaders who attended the G-7 summit vowed to convene an investigation into the origins of COVID-19 in China.

Sullivan said last Thursday that the U.S. was committed to getting the president in talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping either by phone or in person, though no firm promise was made on whether the two would discuss the investigation into the coronavirus origins.

During a press conference in Geneva following a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden did not directly answer media questions as to whether he would press Xi on Chinese blocks on the origin investigations.

“China is trying very hard to project itself as a responsible and very, very forthcoming nation. And they are trying very hard to talk about how they are taking and helping the world in terms of COVID-19 and vaccines, and they’re trying very hard,” Biden said. “Look, certain things you don’t have to explain to the people of the world. They see the results. Is China really actually trying to get to the bottom of this?”

Sullivan also appeared on Fox News Sunday, where he was asked about Biden’s comments and was pressed further on whether the Biden administration was doing enough to get China to come clean about what had happened in Wuhan. The Biden national security adviser defended Biden’s efforts and suggested that a consequence for China would be isolation in the international community.

“He got the G-7 to endorse a statement saying in unison that China must allow an investigation to proceed within its territory, and it is that diplomatic spadework, rallying the nations of the world, imposing political and diplomatic pressure on China, that is a core part of the effort we are undertaking to ultimately face China with a stark choice. Either they will allow, in a responsible way, investigators in to do the real work of figuring out where this came from, or they will face isolation in the international community.”

Sullivan added: “And finally, the president reserves the right, through our own analysis, our own intelligence community’s efforts that he has directed, and through other work that we will do with allies and partners, to continue pressing on every front until we get to the bottom of how this virus came into the world and who has accountability for that.”

Author : Jerry Dunleavy

Source : Washington Examiner : Jake Sullivan says administration will take no immediate action on China until there is ‘international consensus’