Saturday, 25 April 2020

China blasts Australia’s call for pandemic inquiry as ‘political’ and ‘irresponsible’ now

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang last month in Beijing. He says the Morrison government should ‘follow the international community’s collective will for cooperation’. Picture: AFP
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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang last month in Beijing. He says the Morrison government should ‘follow the international community’s collective will for cooperation’. Picture: AFP
China has accused Australia of “ideological bias and political games” over Scott Morrison’s calls for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic.
In remarks on Saturday distributed by the Chinese embassy in Canberra, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the proposed inquiry was a political move that would undermine global efforts to tackle the virus.
“At such a critical juncture, it is highly irresponsible to resort to politically motivated suspicion and accusation,” Mr Geng said.

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“We advise the Australian side to put aside ideological bias and political games, focus on the welfare of the Australian people and global public health security, follow the international community’s collective will for cooperation, and contribute to the global cooperation in fighting the virus, instead of doing things to the contrary.”
The comments follow those by the Prime Minister and by Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne urging a “transparent international ­review into COVID-19”.
Mr Morrison, who has spoken about the proposed inquiry to US President Donald Trump and other world leaders, said complying with such an inquiry should be considered a “responsibility” by World Health Organisation members.
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Mr Morrison also proposed a system in which WHO members would submit to independent public health inspectors, with powers similar to United Nations’ weapons monitors, who could deploy to areas where pandemics were likely to arise.
“If you’re going to be a member of a club like the World Health Organisation, there should be responsibilities and obligations attached to that,” Morrison said on Thursday.
Australia and other Western nations have condemned WHO’s performance in the early stages of the pandemic.

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