“After it has been controlled.”
After previously rejecting calls for an investigation into the origin and spread of the coronavirus, Chinese President Xi Jinping was open to a “comprehensive” review on the response to the pandemic. Of course: only when the crisis has been resolved.
“China supports the idea of a comprehensive reviewof the global response to covid-19 after it has been checked [pandemic] , ” said Xi Monday at the annual meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) , held digitally.
In his videoconference address, Xi insisted that his country has been transparent from the beginning, amid criticism – especially from the US – about its response to the disease in its territory and the transfer of information to other nations.
The director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus , said for his part that an independent evaluation will be carried out “as soon as possible”.Skip You may also be interested and continue readingYou may also be interested
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More than 4.7 million people have been infected worldwide and more than 310,000 have died since the virus was first identified in the central Chinese city of Wuhan last December.
An international investigation?
The European Union (EU) presented to the assembly a draft with the proposal for an investigation into how the pandemic has been managed and the lessons that can be learned.
EU spokesperson Virginie Battu-Henriksson considered that there are several questions to be answered as part of this review, including how the virus spread to a pandemic and the epidemiological aspects behind it.
“All of this is absolutely crucial for us to move forward and avoid another pandemic of this type,” he stressed.
However, the spokeswoman considered that this is not the time to “blame” anyone after the strong criticism of Beijing or the WHO, especially from Washington.
In fact, the EU draft does not specifically mention China, reports Reuters, which ensures that the initiative already has the support of 116 of the 194 member states.
The proposal will be voted on Tuesday and requires a two-thirds majority to go through.
Despite the lack of criticism of this initiative, last month an EU report accused China of spreading false information about the crisis.
The bloc’s External Action Service noted that Russia, and to a lesser extent China, had promoted “conspiracy narratives.”
Transparency and US $ 2,000 million
At a time when China’s foreign image has been seriously damaged, Xi defended his country’s actions to control the virus and announced a US $ 2 billion aid to support countries affected by the pandemic, particularly nations. poorer.
“In all this time, we have displayed an open, responsible and transparent attitude . We have transferred information to the WHO and the countries involved in the most timely manner,” for example when sharing the coronavirus genome sequence, he stressed.
Xi renewed his support for the WHO and called for more political and financial support for this body, in clear contrast to the line followed by the United States, which recently announced the withdrawal of its financial contribution to the institution.
The Chinese leader insisted that the “comprehensive review” of what happened should be carried out under the supervision of the WHO and in an “objective and impartial” manner.
” The leadership of the WHO has been indisputable, ” he remarked.
Washington, for its part, intervened in the discussions with harsh criticism of the WHO.
The Secretary of Health of the United States, Alex Azar, considered that the organization “failed in its mission” to share information with the international community about the pandemic and asked that it assume its responsibilities for it.
“This cannot happen again, the WHO must be much more transparent and accountable,” he said.
Azar added that there was also “a country that did not show transparency” , alluding to China.
The BBC’s Global Health Correspondent, Tulip Mazumdar , predicted a “dialectical war” between the US and China in these two days of assembly and noted that more calls are expected for a WHO investigation team can enter China to investigate the origin of the virus.
“Until now, only international teams have been allowed to enter alongside Chinese authorities. No doubt the United States and others, including Australia, will ask. It is highly unlikely that China will agree.”
Washington, however, could distance itself from the European Union’s initiative on one crucial issue: ensuring global access to vaccines and sharing vaccine patents, international policy watchers warn.