China urges US to clarify overseas biological militarisation activities

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian.

BEIJING (Global Times): China has again urged the US to offer a comprehensive clarification of its overseas biological militariSation activities, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday (May 18).

Citizen groups in Busan, South Korea, have reportedly been staging protests to demand the closure of the US military’s biological and chemical laboratory in the port of Busan, and the removal of biological and chemical weapons from the country.

Local media reports have exposed the US military’s shipment of biological warfare agents to South Korea, and have criticised the military for concealing the truth.

China has repeatedly expressed its serious concerns about the US military’s use of overseas laboratories to engage in biological militarisation activities, Zhao said at the regular press conference on Tuesday, in a response to a question on the protests in South Korea.

As early as in August last year, China urged the US to clarify its biological militarisation activities in South Korea, Zhao said.

China reiterated on May 12 that the US should take concrete steps to ensure that its laboratories and related activities are legal, transparent and safe, and once again urged it to stop obstructing the establishment of a Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) verification mechanism, he added.

“Regrettably, the US has always turned a deaf ear to the concerns of the international community, ” said Zhao.

In Busan, where the protests broke out, the US side should clearly clarify three areas, Zhao said. First, the US should explain the real purpose of the US military shipping biological warfare agents to Busan, what research it carries out after bringing the warfare agents there, and how it can prove that its activities there are in compliance with the BWC, he said.

Second, the US should explain why it conceals the truth, and particularly why it at first denied the construction of a military lab at Pier 8 in the Port of Busan, but was forced to admit it in 2016 after the related projects were exposed by the media, Zhao said.

The US must also explain why it claimed it had sent biological warfare agents to South Korea for the first time in 2015, only for it later to be revealed that it was as early as 2009, Zhao added.

Third, the US side must make it clear why it has neglected the health and safety of the local people, said Zhao.

“There are four residential areas and several schools within 500 meters of Pier 8, ” he noted.

“What will happen in such a densely populated area if there is an accident?”

Legality, transparency and security are the common requirements of the international community on the US’ biological militarization activities, Zhao said.

“We once again urge the US side to provide a comprehensive clarification [on its activities], take concrete and credible actions to fulfill its obligations under the BWC, and stop exclusively blocking negotiations on a verification protocol for the convention, so as to create conditions for addressing concerns and building mutual trust through the verification, ” he remarked. - Global Times

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