At Wednesday’s online briefing, Chen Xu said his country’s first priority is to beat the coronavirus pandemic, and then countering the "absurd and ridiculous" US politicization of the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that it hoped Beijing would invite the UN agency to take part in China’s investigations into the animal origins of the novel virus, first emerged in the city of Wuhan late last year.
Responding to a question on when the WHO could expect an invitation, Chen said, "The top priority, for the time being, is to focus on the fight against the pandemic until we win the final victory.
"It's not that we are allergic to any kind of investigations, inquiries or evaluations,"as they could help international efforts to prepare for future public health emergencies, he added.
"For whether or how the invitation will take place, we need to have the right priority setting at this moment, and on the other hand, we need the right atmosphere," Chen said, noting that the atmosphere had been soured by "politically-motivated" accusations against China, "smearing, demonizing" its handling of the initial outbreak.
US President Donald Trump, who attacks China over its alleged lack of transparency, said last week that he had proof that the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been the source of the new coronavirus, appearing to copycat speculation fueled by American right-wing radio commentators about a purported secret lab. He also threatened new trade tariffs.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday claimed there was “enormous evidence” that the new coronavirus purportedly originated in a lab in China.
Beijing has so far categorically denied such “unfounded” lab claims regarding the origin of the contagious disease, which was transmitted from wildlife to people in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
Chen described such views of a high-ranking official as “alarming”.
"Some of the American politicians, the mindset is a constant problem. They adopted an approach that is against anything from China,” he said.
"We cannot allow this kind of political virus to spread freely without any curbing,” he said, reiterating that "We need to focus firstly to save lives, secondly to stop the political virus."
The COVID-19 respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus has killed over 250,000 people worldwide, with the US, which reported more than 70,000 deaths, being the worst-hit country.
Chen stressed that Trump and Pompeo's claims regarding the source of the new coronavirus aimed to "shift responsibility" amid "their own failure at this moment to curb the spreading of the virus in the United States".
Pompeo lacks evidence to support virus lab claim
China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying also hit back at Pompeo’s claim, saying,"I think this matter should be handed to scientists and medical professionals, and not politicians who lie for their own domestic political ends."
"Mr. Pompeo repeatedly spoke up, but he cannot present any evidence. How can he? Because he doesn't have any," she said at a regular press briefing on Wednesday.
Hua also echoed the remarks of China’s envoy to the UN, saying the US’ claims aimed to divert attention from its domestic handling of the outbreak.
"We urge the US to stop... shifting the focus to China," Hua said, adding "It should handle its domestic affairs properly first. The most important thing now is to control the US' domestic pandemic spread and think of ways to save lives."