U.S. and European Union leaders are expected to issue a joint call for a fresh investigation into the origins of coronavirus, according to a draft communique reviewed by Reuters.
The U.S. and European Union (EU) will demand a “transparent” study free of outside interference into the virus’ origins, the document said, Reuters reported. The leaders are expected to issue the communique during an in-person summit in Brussels, Belgium next week.
“We call for progress on a transparent, evidence-based … study on the origins of COVID-19, that is free from interference,” the communique said, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Infectious Disease Expert Told Fauci In January 2020 That COVID-19 Looked Potentially ‘Engineered’)
In the immediate aftermath of the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, media fact-checkers downplayed the idea that the virus could have escaped from a Chinese lab. However, multiple researchers who worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized with an unknown illness in November 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported last month.
On May 26, President Joe Biden ordered the U.S. intelligence community to “redouble their efforts” investigating the virus’ origins.
“The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence,” Biden said in a statement.
The World Health Organization conducted an investigation of its own earlier this year, but critics pointed out many flaws in the report detailing its findings. (RELATED: Wuhan Lab Researcher’s Wife Died Of COVID-Like Illness In December 2019, Former Lead US Investigator Says)
In addition to calling for a new investigation into coronavirus, the draft aims to end steel tariffs and unify the two sides’ policies on China, according to Reuters.
“We intend to closely consult and cooperate on the full range of issues in the framework of our respective similar multi-faceted approaches to China, which include elements of cooperation, competition, and systemic rivalry,” the communique said, according to Reuters.
On Wednesday morning, Biden embarked on an eight-day trip to Europe. Biden will attend the G7 Summit in the U.K., meet with NATO leaders in Brussels and meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland.
The president will meet with top EU officials Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel.
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