Chinese President Xi Jinping said he supports calls for an investigation into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic at a key summit, but insisted that any inquiry should wait until the virus is contained.
Xi spoke at the World Health Assembly after more than 100 countries backed a resolution calling for an independent inquiry into the pandemic, which has so far claimed more than 300,000 lives globally.
The President defended his country at the annual meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO), saying Beijing had acted transparently about the origins of the virus, which was first detected late last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. Xi also expressed condolences for the lives lost due to the pandemic, and went on to agree with the need for an investigation, though he said it should wait until the pandemic subsides.
“All along we have acted with openness, transparency and responsibility, we have provided information to the WHO and relevant countries in the most timely fashion, we have released the genome sequence at the earliest possible time, we have shared control and treatment experiences with the world without reservation, we have done everything in our power to support and assist countries in need,” Xi told the assembly via video conference.
The European Union-drafted resolution, driven by calls for an inquiry from Australia, does not single out China or any other country but calls for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of “the (WHO)-coordinated international health response to COVID-19.” A number of countries, including the US, have accused China of withholding information about the virus.