May 14, 2020 / 8:11 PM / 22 days ago

EU top diplomat wants independent probe into coronavirus origins

FILE PHOTO: European High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell, holds a virtual news conference on the approval of Operation Irini, at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Union’s foreign policy chief called on China on Thursday to contribute significantly to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and said there should be an independent scientific investigation into the origins of the pandemic.

In a guest column in Friday’s edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, Josep Borrell said China should act to help protect the world from future pandemics.

“An independent scientific investigation of the origin of this pandemic is also necessary,” he wrote.

The virus emerged in Wuhan, China, in December and some countries, including the United States and some European states have criticised its handling of the outbreak. China says it has been open and transparent in its approach.

Borrell also said China should take on its responsibilities “commensurate with its weight” in tackling the pandemic, vaccine research and boosting the global economy, including playing its part in a major debt relief effort for developing countries particularly hard hit.

Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Toby Chopra

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