China rejects as “slanderous” US claim of attempted Covid vaccine theft

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Published: May 14, 2020 8:36:08 PM

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian also rebutted US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien's charge that five plagues came out China in the last 20 years.

The US claims have added fuel to tensions between the two nations, which are engaged in a war of words over the origin of the coronavirus that has killed 300,000 people globally.

China on Thursday termed as “slanderous” the US accusation that hackers backed by Beijing may be attempting to steal COVID-19 related research and vaccine materials and said that “smearing and scapegoating” others will not make the deadly virus go away. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian also rebutted US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien’s charge that five plagues came out China in the last 20 years, saying US officials are shifting the blame on Beijing as they struggled to handle the coronavirus pandemic back home.

The US claims have added fuel to tensions between the two nations, which are engaged in a war of words over the origin of the coronavirus that has killed 300,000 people globally. “China deplores and firmly opposes such slanderous actions,” Zhao said. He was referring to reports by the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security’s cyber division that warned hackers backed by the Chinese government may be attempting to steal the work of researchers dealing with the response to the coronavirus outbreak as well vaccines.

“Judging from the past records, it was the US which launched such largescale espionage activities,” Zhao said.
He said China has more reasons to worry about cyber-attacks as the country has made significant strategic achievements in the fight against the coronavirus and is at the forefront in COVID-19 treatment and vaccine research. He said that China firmly cracked down on all forms of cyber-attacks at home. “When the COVID-19 is active in the world, any action online to sabotage global efforts should be condemned by all,” he said, adding that spreading rumours and smearing and scapegoating others will not make the virus go away nor it will end the pandemic.

On O’Brien’s charge that SARS, avian flu, swine flu, COVID-19 came from China, Zhao said, US politicians are talking nonsense to smear others. O’Brien should get the facts right,” he said, adding that according to media reports swine flu came from the US in 2009. “Epidemics may breakout anywhere anytime. Facing the pandemic US politicians should not be so immersed in blame-shifting,” Zhao said.

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