China urges hard evidence from US to clarify bio weapons suspicion in Ukraine
By Yang Sheng Published: Mar 12, 2022 06:10 PM Updated: Mar 12, 2022 11:15 PM
As the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to unfold, the Russian government claimed that its forces found the US is using laboratories in Ukraine to develop biological weapons, but the US denied such claims and accused Russia of spreading "disinformation." During a UN Security Council meeting on this issue on Friday, China urged the US to be transparent and provide hard evidence to clarify itself, after US blamed China of "spreading disinformation."
The US has a long, infamous history of using and developing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) including biological and chemical weapons in other countries, so it would not be a surprise if the US was engaged in such practice in Ukraine, said Chinese experts.
If the US fails to clarify itself by providing credible counterevidence, the evidence provided by Russia must be taken seriously, and Russia can further prove that its security concerns are legitimate and reasonable as the US is deploying and developing WMDs in its neighbor countries which seriously threatens the safety of Russia and the whole European continent, analysts said.
According to Russia Today on Friday, Russia has called for a UN Security Council meeting to discuss purported US-backed biological weapons programs in Ukraine. Washington has denied that it owns or operates any such biolabs in the country, while Kiev insisted that the facilities were only engaged in civilian research.
Moscow's deputy UN envoy Dmitry Polyanskiy announced the move early on Friday, citing a Defense Ministry briefing claiming that the United States and NATO allies ran "military biological programs" in Ukraine.
The Russian military briefing went on to claim that the Pentagon's Defense Threat Reduction Agency is "financing and conducting military biological research on the territory of Ukraine," citing documents it said it captured at several facilities during Russia's military operation in the country. Among other activities, the ministry said research was carried out at laboratories in Kiev, Kharkov and Odessa to "study the possibility of the spread of particularly dangerous infections through migrating birds."
US response without evidence
Washington, however, has rejected those charges. The US accused Russia of using a UN Security Council meeting Friday for "lying and spreading disinformation," US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, while also accusing China of "spreading disinformation in support of Russia's outrageous claims."
Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun refuted the US accusation, saying "the US Representative, in her statement, made groundless accusations against China, which we firmly reject. The international community have already been raising concerns about the US military biological activities. They have 336 laboratories around the world."
"This number comes from the information provided by the US to the Conference of Parties of the BWC (Biological Weapons Convention). The US always claim they advocate transparency. If they believe the relevant information is fake, they can just provide us with relevant data for clarification, so that the international community can draw a conclusion by itself," Ambassador Zhang said at the UN Security Council meeting, according to the website of China's permanent mission to the UN.
Chinese analysts said the US' reactions are ridiculous, because if Russia's accusation is untrue, it could just provide hard evidence or allow international investigators access to its labs; but accusing China of "spreading disinformation for supporting Russia" is nonsense, which looks like the US was panic-driven to throw accusations against China.
China's position is both clear and fair. Zhang said in his remarks at the UN Security Council meeting that "Any information and lead on bio-military activities should trigger high attention from the international community. China has noted with concern relevant information released by Russia. To uphold the BWC is an obligation for all member states. The concerns raised by Russia should be properly addressed."
"China urges relevant parties to effectively carry out their obligations under the Convention, provide a comprehensive clarification, and accept multilateral verification," Zhang said.
China was just asking the US to clarify itself without confirming Russia's claim, so "why the US is so nervous to accuse China of spreading disinformation? What makes US diplomats so worried? There is no need to be so nervous if US diplomats can prove their country is clean, so the US reaction has made itself more suspicious," said a Beijing-based expert on international relations who asked for anonymity.
"The US has a long history and bad record of using and developing WMDs in other countries, such as what it did to North Korean and Vietnamese militaries and civilians during the Korean War and the Vietnam War, so it would not be surprising if the US would do the same thing in Ukraine. And this time, it seems the US won't provide any counterevidence to clarify itself," said Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University.
Song Zhongping, a Chinese military commentator, told the Global Times that "in the past, the US used fake WMD issues to legitimate its war against Iraq, and this time it becomes the one being accused. The explanations provided by the US so far are not convincing, claiming the facilities are for public health or commercial use. There is only one way to make the international community believe it - open the labs for international investigations."
"The US won't allow any investigation on its labs around the globe, and Russia will keep accusing it, and the fact is that the US knows there is no one who can really punish it or force it to do anything even if it is found to have been engaged in the nasty behavior like bio weapons tests overseas," Song noted.
The Chinese Ambassador to the UN said at the Friday meeting that "We have taken note of the press report that the WHO has advised the Ukrainian Government to destroy pathogens stored in laboratories in order to prevent the spread of diseases. We look forward to receiving more specific information on this. Under the current situation and for the sake of public health, it is very important to ensure the safety and security of relevant laboratories."
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