NSC Spokesman John Kirby: ‘In Some Cases, We Have Significant Concerns About China’s Behavior’

(CNSNews.com) – The Biden administration has “significant concerns” in some cases about China’s behavior when it comes to abiding by the international rules of the road, namely its “coercive and aggressive behavior” in the South China Sea, “pursuing false maritime claims, concerns about intellectual theft, and some trade practices,” NSC spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are meeting on Tuesday in Moscow.

Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy asked, “Quickly about the meeting today, the Xi-Putin meeting. In November when President Biden met with Xi, he said, I want to make sure that every country abides by the international rules of the road. Does he think China is abiding by the international rules of the road?” 

KIRBY: In some cases, we have significant concerns about China’s behavior, particularly their coercive and aggressive behavior for instance in the South China Sea and pursuing false maritime claims, concerns about intellectual theft, and some trade practices, and the president’s been very open and honest about that, and he was when they met in Bali, but there are other areas where we believe there’s room for cooperation with China, and we want to be able to pursue that too, but in order to do that, Peter, you got to keep those lines of communication open. 

You gotta have that ability to talk particularly when things are tense like they are right now, and that’s what the president wants to get back to.

Doocy asked about the COVID-19 Origin Act of 202 (S.618), which Biden signed on Monday. 

The president said in a statement: 


Today, I am pleased to sign into law S. 619, the “COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023.”  I share the Congress’s goal of releasing as much information as possible about the origin of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19).  In 2021, I directed the Intelligence Community to use every tool at its disposal to investigate the origin of COVID-19, and that work is ongoing.  We need to get to the bottom of COVID-19’s origins to help ensure we can better prevent future pandemics.  My Administration will continue to review all classified information relating to COVID–19’s origins, including potential links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.  In implementing this legislation, my Administration will declassify and share as much of that information as possible, consistent with my constitutional authority to protect against the disclosure of information that would harm national security.  

“About the bill President Biden signed yesterday, he says he will declassify COVID origins intel except info that would harm national security. Is there a bigger national security threat than something that killed 1.1 million people in this country?” Doocy asked.

KIRBY: I’ve seen some of the commentary on your network about this. The president obviously has to balance transparency with national security, Peter. Of course he does. When coming into office, ordered the declassification of what the DNI had on COVID origins, ordered the entire intelligence community and added the Department of Energy to that list–

DOOCY: Where is it? 

KIRBY: Let me finish my answer.

DOOCY: We’re talking about the beginning of his term.

KIRBY: Added the Department of Energy and national labs, told them to keep studying it. We have kept Congress informed. Some of that has to be in a classified way right now, but it’s always a balance between the public’s right to know, right – not need, right – and our obligation to protect national security. 

So one should not read into that statement that he’s sort of laying a foundation here to be overly secretive. He believes strongly that we’ve got to find the roots and the origins of COVID so that we can prevent a future pandemic, and through his actions, just judging him on what he’s done, through his actions, he’s proven that he’s going to be as transparent as possible with the American people, because he believes that’s important.

DOOCY: Does the White House hope that the lab leak theory is not true?

KIRBY: We don’t have a hope one way or the other, Peter. What we want is the ground truth, wherever that takes us, wherever the science takes you, wherever the facts takes you. President Biden wants to know so that he can help work with the scientific community to prevent a future pandemic. We’re not– there’s no thumb on the scale here, Peter. It’s not about not wanting a certain outcome. We just want the best possible outcome that we can get.


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