© AFPWHO investigators visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology earlier this year.
China has stepped up its criticism of the United States over an intelligence services report into the origins of Covid-19, insisting it will be used as a political weapon.

In a phone call with Dutch counterpart Sigrid Kaag on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the report was "bound to serve its own political purposes and seriously interfere with international anti-pandemic cooperation".

He said the US was "anti-science" because it "has ignored and abandoned the research report worked out by WHO experts, and asked its intelligence agencies to come up with a so-called conclusion on origins tracing within a limited time", according to a readout from the Chinese foreign ministry.

Wang's comments came ahead of the release of the findings of the three-month investigation into the origins of the pandemic. The White House received the classified report on Tuesday.

In late May, US President Joe Biden ordered the US intelligence service to redouble its efforts to investigate the origin of the pandemic - including whether it came from a lab accident - and report back to him in 90 days.

The move grew out of frustration over restrictions placed on the first phase of the WHO's origins mission in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected in late 2019.

The report in March said it was extremely unlikely that the virus came from a lab - a theory linked to the Wuhan Institute of Virology's study of coronaviruses, including those found in bats.

Comment: And yet all the evidence found in the virus itself points to it being engineered, a theory that has since become widely accepted by many experts: Coronavirus makes infected cells sprout 'sinister' tentacles to quickly travel inside the body

However, the head of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has since said it was premature to rule out the theory and urged China to be transparent.

In July, Beijing rejected a WHO proposal for a second phase investigation, accusing it of "arrogance" and a "disrespect for common sense" with its return to the "lab leak" theory.

Comment: China initially welcomed WHO investigators whilst the US did not allow them anywhere near any of their known bioweapons laboratories that were also known to be tinkering with coronaviruses: China rejects WHO's second phase investigation into leak of coronavirus from Chinese lab, suggests looking at US military labs

Meanwhile, the office of the commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong accused the US of planning to use the investigation to "make up misleading conclusions".

Li Hua, a spokesman for the office, said "China supports a science-based origin study and opposes the politicisation of origin tracing by citing so-called 'intelligence'.

"According to informed sources, despite no scientific support, the US intelligence agencies are gearing up efforts in putting together an investigation report on the origin tracing to make up the 'lab leak theory'.

"Putting intelligence agencies in charge of such a scientific matter, the US government showed its real intention, which is nothing more than playing its old trick of smearing China'," he said in a statement.

However, China has been pushing its own coronavirus lab leak theory with diplomats and state media calling for an investigation into US military labs, including Fort Detrick, as Beijing seeks to counter the theory that the virus could have escaped from a lab in Wuhan.

Comment: A theory for which there is much more compelling evidence: Compelling Evidence That SARS-CoV-2 Was Man-Made

On Tuesday China's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Chen Xu, wrote to Tedros to reiterate that the lab leak hypothesis is extremely unlikely.

"If some parties are of the view that the 'lab leak' hypothesis [remains] open, it is the labs of Fort Detrick and University of North Carolina in the US that should be subject to transparent investigation with full access," the Chinese mission to Switzerland said in a statement on Wednesday.