Pakistan and China have refuted as “absurd” and “fabricated” media reports that the two close allies are jointly conducting secret research to develop biological weapons in breach of global treaties.
An Australian publication, The Klaxon, alleged in its investigative report last week that Beijing and Islamabad have entered a covert three-year deal “to expand potential bio-warfare capabilities, including running several research projects related to the deadly agent anthrax.”
The report quoted multiple intelligence sources as saying that China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology had “lent all financial material and scientific support” to set up the secret facility in Pakistan. "The Wuhan lab was providing “extensive training on manipulation of pathogens and bio-informatics” to Pakistani scientists “to help Pakistan develop its own virus collection database,” it said.
“It is a politically motivated and fake story, composed of distortion of facts and fabrications that quote anonymous sources,” said a Pakistan Foreign Ministry statement issued Sunday.
It insisted that “there is nothing secret” about the facility referred to in the report, saying the laboratory is being used for research and development on emerging health threats, surveillance and diseases outbreak investigation.
The ministry noted that Pakistan has been “strictly” abiding by its international obligations and has been sharing information about the laboratory in question with states parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). The international treaty forbids member nations from developing, producing and stockpiling biological agent or toxin.
“The attempt to cast aspersions about the facility is particularly absurd against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has highlighted the need for better preparedness in the areas of disease surveillance and control and international collaborations in that regard,” the Pakistani statement lamented.
The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan also denounced as “fabricated” the Australian media report.
“It is totally irresponsible, vicious-intentioned to smear China and Sino-Pak relations. As a responsible nation, China always lives up to its obligations to BWC,” the diplomatic mission tweeted Sunday.
Pakistan and China have traditionally maintained close political, economic and defense relations. The two neighboring countries have over the past six years further cemented bilateral ties, with Beijing investing billions of dollars in major infrastructure and energy development projects in Pakistan.