A former U.S. State Department said France alerted the U.S. of China’s secretive actions with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in 2015.
France, which assisted in constructing the Wuhan lab as part of a partnership with China dating back to 2004, was kicked off from participating in the WIV in 2017 by the Chinese government.
According to a State Department cable from 2018, France donated the lab’s design, much of its technology, and biosafety training.
At the WIV, France would send its researchers there to monitor the work of the Chinese researchers in Wuhan.
But it was two years before the termination of their collaboration, France intelligence already warned its own foreign ministry and the U.S. State Department that China was cutting off their agreed involvement at the Wuhan facility, said the former U.S. State Department as reported by the Daily Caller.
Fox News said that France was in charge of managing the facility’s safety protocols before it was removed from collaboration.
The official, David Asher, led the investigation into the origin of the coronavirus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic under the Trump administration.
“The Chinese basically sucked State into its honey pot operation to gain access to U.S. technology, knowledge, and material support. Classic. Just as they have done in every sector,” Asher said.
The U.S. was granting the WIV funding during the time.
According to the Daily Caller, funding poured into the WIV from the U.S. came not only from the National Institutes of Health directed by the current White House chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci but also from the US Agency for International Development and the Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency via sub-agreement with the Wuhan lab.
Asher said the U.S. should have pulled out from financing the Chinese facility with federal funding when France contacted them over concerns of the Chinese government’s behavior back in 2015.
He noted that all cooperation should have been terminated by State Department officials in charge of nonproliferation.
When France took the deal with the Chinese government to build the WIV, unlike prominent French politicians who backed collaboration, security and defense professionals in France shared different viewpoints.
According to Le Figaro, national security officials did not want to share vital technology with an authoritarian government that was not an ally. They were concerned that the facility could one day be transformed into a “biological arsenal.”
The fifty French scientists who were supposed to stay in the lab for five years never left their homeland. The U.S. officials who had visited the lab and made warnings in 2018 of the poorly trained technicians at the WIV were not allowed to return to the lab, per the Daily Caller.
As early as 2009, the U.S. State Department, then led by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, made inquiries to France for details of how China would “vet incoming international researchers” and counter technology transfer to countries concerning biological weapons advancement.