Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary for the White House, refused to comment if US President Joe Biden asked his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to cooperate with international efforts in tracing the origins of the deadly coronavirus. On Thursday, July 28, both leaders held a lengthy telephonic conversation which lasted for more than two hours. Speaking to Fox News, Jean-Pierre claimed that the two leaders talked about “health security,” but refused to comment on whether President Biden brought up the COVID origin issue with Jinping. “So, on the only origins of COVID, the two presidents did discuss the health security and transparency is a key part of that,” she added.

She further claimed that when it comes to data and information sharing, China does not uphold standards set by scientific and public health. “We have said this before, so that is nothing new. And we, the international community, need more data, more information, to make a determination on the origins of the pandemic,” the White House press secretary told Fox News. Meanwhile, she also assured that the US would keep working with its allies to push China to fully cooperate with the World Health Organization and share information.

The talk was ‘substantive, detailed & candid’ between two leaders: White House

Giving further details of the phone call between the two leaders, Jean-Pierre said that the conversation was “substantive, detailed and candid.” According to her, President Biden has repeatedly highlighted the value of keeping lines of communication open to make sure that the US and China managed their differences and cooperated on issues of mutual interest. She went on to say that both sides also focus their discussion on climate change, counternarcotics, as well as on the Taiwan issue.

China once again warns US against intervening in Taiwan issue

It is worth mentioning here that Chinese President Jinping is said to have warned the US once again, asking Biden not to intervene in China’s relations with Taiwan. “Resolutely safeguarding China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity is the firm will of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people. Those who play with fire will perish by it,” the Chinese government said in a statement, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Notably, it was the fifth telephonic conversation between two leaders who also reportedly intend to meet face-to-face in November during the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) meeting in Indonesia.

Image: AP