Sullivan: US will not be issuing 'threats or ultimatums' to China in COVID-19 origin investigation

Sullivan: US will not be issuing 'threats or ultimatums' to China in COVID-19 origin investigation
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National Security Advisor Jake SullivanJake SullivanNo. 2 State Department official to travel to China amid tensions Pence v. Biden on China: Competing but consistent visions Putin escapes accountability for chemical weapons use  MORE said on Sunday that the U.S. would not be issuing "threats or ultimatums" to China as it seeks access for an investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," host Dana BashDana BashKlobuchar: If Breyer is going to retire from Supreme Court, it should be sooner rather than later Sunday shows - Surgeon general in the spotlight as delta variant spreads Surgeon general: No 'value' to locking people up over marijuana use MORE pressed Sullivan on what actions the U.S. would take to pressure China to help facilitate an investigation, noting that Sullivan had once said the U.S. wouldn't take China's inaction lying down.

Sullivan stated that the U.S.'s approach was on "two tracks."

"One track is an intelligence community assessment that President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense: Senate panel adds B to Biden's defense budget | House passes bill to streamline visa process for Afghans who helped US | Pentagon confirms 7 Colombians arrested in Haiti leader's killing had US training On The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks MORE ordered," Sullivan said. "The second track is an international investigation led by the World Health Organization, for which President Biden has rallied democratic partners to say there must be access to China, to be able to get the data necessary to understand what happened here."

"We are not at this point going to issue threats or ultimatums. What we're going to do is continue to rally support in the international community. And if it turns out that China refuses to live up to its international obligations, we will have to consider our responses at that point," Sullivan added.

Bash noted that this approach appeared to give China a fair amount of leeway in terms of how it could respond to international calls.

"Well, this is not a question of time, Dana, first of all we are in the process of using our own capacities, our own capabilities to begin to develop a clearer picture," Sullivan said, saying that pressuring China took "diplomatic spadework," such as what Biden did during the recent Group of 7 summit in Europe.

The G7 leaders called for a "timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based" investigation led by the World Health Organization (WHO) into the origins of COVID-19.

"I will repeat what I said before, we're not going to simply accept China saying no, but we will work between now and when this second phase of the WHO investigation is fully underway to have as strong a consensus in the international community as possible, because it is from that position of strength that we will best be able to deal with China," Sullivan said.