The United States asserts that China persists in the pursuit of biological warfare endeavors

China persists in engaging in biological endeavors with potential implications for ‘biological warfare’ (BW), encompassing the conceivable development of toxins for military objectives, as per a report issued by the US State Department.

The report articulates: “China purportedly militarized ricin, botulinum toxins, and the causative agents of anthrax, cholera, plague, and tularemia, as components of its historical biological warfare initiative.”

This annual report, titled ‘Compliance with Arms Control, Non-proliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments’, factors in the events of the year 2023 and was disseminated on a Tuesday. Highlighting China’s activities, the report expresses the insufficiency of available data for the US to conclusively ascertain whether China has met its obligation to dismantle its historical biological warfare endeavor.

Although China acceded to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in 1984, it never publicly disclosed the pursuit of an offensive BW initiative, the report contends. Entities such as the People’s Liberation Army of China and research institutions have been spearheading military research pertinent to dual-use marine toxins.

The report also underscores military medical establishments engaging in toxin and biotechnology research and development with potential implications for BW, raising apprehensions regarding China’s adherence to the BWC, which stipulates that states should “never under any circumstances develop, produce, stockpile, or otherwise acquire or retain microbial or other biological agents, or toxins, regardless of their origin or method of production, in quantities or types that have no justification for prophylactic, protective, or other peaceful purposes.”

The US evaluation suggests that China harbored an offensive BW initiative from the early 1950s to at least the late 1980s. There is a dearth of available evidence demonstrating China’s efforts to dismantle all associated assets.

In a separate initiative, the administration of US President Joe Biden pledges assistance to 50 nations in identifying and addressing infectious diseases, with the aim of forestalling pandemics akin to the Covid-19 crisis that abruptly disrupted normalcy worldwide in 2020. US officials will extend aid to these nations, predominantly situated in Africa and Asia, to bolster their capabilities in testing, surveillance, communication, and preparedness for such outbreaks.

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