China’s embassy says Australia claim of WHA vindication is ‘a joke’

By Kirsty Needham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – China derided as “a joke” on Tuesday an Australian assertion {that a} decision on the World Health Assembly (WHA) for an enquiry into the novel coronavirus was a vindication of its push for a worldwide evaluate, one other signal of worsening relations.

In an unusually blunt assertion on the identical day that China imposed hefty tariffs on Australian barley exports, China’s embassy in Canberra was sharply crucial of Australia on a problem that has soured relations between them.

“The draft resolution on COVID-19 to be adopted by the World Health Assembly is totally different from Australia’s proposal of an independent international review,” a Chinese embassy spokesman stated in an emailed assertion.

“To claim the WHA’s resolution a vindication of Australia’s call is nothing but a joke.”

The WHA is the decision-making physique of the World Health Organization.

China had attacked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison since he started lobbying worldwide counterparts for an investigation final month.

The Chinese ambassador had earlier warned of a client boycott of Australian items, which prompted Australian accusations of “economic coercion”.Australian diplomats labored with the European Union to collect help from the bulk of nations on the WHA to help the decision which was put ahead by the European Union, Australia stated.

“We welcome the fact that the World Health Assembly has supported overwhelmingly the decision and the advocacy of the Australian government there be an independent investigation into COVID-19, its origin and its handling around the world,” Trade Minister Simon Birmingham informed a radio station.

Australia would be sure it was an unbiased investigation and hoped “that everybody will cooperate with that, including Chinese authorities”, he stated.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday informed the meeting that China would help a complete evaluate of the response to the coronavirus after the pandemic is introduced beneath management.

The WHA decision outlines a evaluate will happen on the “earliest appropriate” second.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne stated on Monday the decision wording of an “impartial, independent and comprehensive” analysis, which included “an examination of the zoonotic origins of the coronavirus”, had met Australia’s necessities.

Chinese embassies have lately taken a extra assertive method to worldwide affairs, together with criticism of its dealing with of the coronavirus outbreak, a coverage dubbed “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy in each Western and Chinese media.

(Reporting by Kirsty Needham; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Robert Birsel)