Covid-19 origin: Several factors create suspicion about China's role, claims Japanese expert
China wants to hide where the origin of the virus is, Satoru Nagao says in an exclusive interview
The world was startled when it was introduced to a new virus with its first case reported in Wuhan in December 2019. Soon after, SARS-CoV-2 became a global pandemic taking millions of lives.
While scientists and researchers still try to find the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic, China has come under immense pressure as new evidence indicates that the coronavirus may have been man-made in the labs of Wuhan.
A new study has said that the novel coronavirus has no “credible natural ancestor" and was created by Chinese scientists who were working on a “Gain of Function" project in a Wuhan lab. The Daily Mail reported this on Sunday, citing a new research paper by British professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Dr Birger Sorensen.
Besides, there are also claims that the Wuhan institute of Virology has some links to the country’s defence sector as well. Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday said that the WIV was engaged in military activity alongside its civilian research.
Amid such claims supporting the lab-leak theory, India News Network spoke to a defence and security expert in Japan and tried decoding what could have led China to cause the pandemic.
In an exclusive interview, visiting fellow at Hudson Institute, Washington DC, Dr. Satoru Nagao said, “As of now it is not easy to prove which side is right. So the origin of Covid-19, we want to know but we cannot know".
He, however, cited three factors that raise suspicion against China.
"First, the number of Covid-19 cases in China compared to other countries is too small and we cannot know why? Does China know something special about the pandemic? Thus, suspicion against China is rising. Secondly, China strongly opposed the use of the word China virus. China has imposed economic sanctions against Australia when Australia called for an independent investigation on its origin of Covid-19. So, it is obvious that China wants to hide where the origin of the virus is. So such articles raise suspicion against China.”
“Thirdly, while the world faces the Covid-19 pandemic, China has increased its military operation in the Indo Pacific. China has also posed a security threat in Hong Kong to crack down democratic movement supported by most of the residents. In the South China Sea, China’s activity also saw a rise. Moreover, China also held military exercises in Taiwan, South China sea and intimidated these countries. At the same time, China also entered the Indian side and caused the Galwan Valley incident where 20 brave soldiers sacrificed their lives. All of this has taken place during the Covid-19 crisis. So such an attitude raises suspicion against China,” he added.
Amid all the claims made, China has engaged in blaming the global media for selling ‘baseless’ claims. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that the Wuhan Institute of Virology had not been exposed to Covid-19 before December 30, 2019, and there has been a "zero-infection" record among its staff and graduate students so far.
“What is the real purpose for the US to continue to play up the so-called "lab leak theory"? Does it really care about the origin-tracing of the virus or just wants to divert attention?” Zhao asked rhetorically at a press conference.
Asked why China continues to play the blame game, Nagao said that it is out of habit that China hides any mistake it has made. At the same time, he noted that if Covid-19 was intended then it was a “serious crime” by China.
“Of course from the domestic point of view, China wants to hide any mistake it has made. But at the same time if it is intended one, this is a serious crime. Many people in the world suffer from Covid-19 spread from China. And although China could have stopped the spread, China has not done so. That’s a big problem because China wants to hide something or want to do something. But as of now we cannot prove anything so it is not easy to punish China without concrete evidence. That’s the problem we are facing,” he said.
Nagao, who is an expert in US-India-Japan security, noted that China could also have a motive to change the power balance with the US if it had intended the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Recently, a British think tank Center of Economic and Business Research predicted that China will overtake the US to become the world’s largest economy by 2028 because of the Covid-19 crisis. But the future is uncertain and the US will not compromise its number 1 status. If this is an intended plan then there is a possibility that the US will come back and China’s plan could fail terribly,” he said.