China must be challenged over its denials that the Covid pandemic might have been caused by a leak from one of its laboratories, an expert warned last night.
The call came amid fears Britain is turning a blind eye to the latest evidence in order not to upset Beijing, with diplomatic relations on a knife-edge over the war in Ukraine.
China is said to be considering whether to provide armed drones to Russia in the next few days.
But chemical and biological expert Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon said that letting China off the hook over a possible coronavirus lab leak at Wuhan would be ‘bonkers diplomacy’.
The former commander of the UK’s Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment (CBRN) insisted Britain must demand a full and wholly transparent investigation into the origins of Covid-19.
He was speaking after the US Energy Department concluded the outbreak was most likely to have started with a laboratory leak, a view supported by the FBI.
A growing number of experts now believe coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, having previously said they were ‘undecided’.
Beijing has rejected the claims, saying the virus first emerged outside the country and accusing the US of political smears.
With China’s foreign ministry calling on the West to ‘stop stirring up the laboratory leak argument’, there are concerns that Britain and other nations are suppressing the claims to prevent a diplomatic fall-out.
The US says it has intelligence that China is considering sending 100 drones and other lethal weapons to Russia as Beijing considers ramping up its support for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Chinese leader Xi Jinping is expected to meet with Putin in days.