China gets cornered as WHO nods probe into Covid19 origin

    18-May-2020   
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New Delhi: Making things tough for China ever since the Covid19 crisis was triggered, over 120 countries and key members of the World Health Organization (WHO) have backed the resolution for an international investigation into the disease's origin. The countries include India and among others the United States, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
 
"In all this, we count on China to play its full role, in line with its global weight and responsibilities," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said in an opinion piece. Among Indian leaders, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had last week said in a television interview said that the Corona virus actually came out of a laboratory. "We need to understand the importance of Art of Living with Corona....This virus is not a natural virus, it is an artificial virus" he said.
 
Now the international move has mounted pressure on China and perhaps that is why there is a slight change in policy stance by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
 
"Xi reads the writing on the wall: After a majority of nations back a motion for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus spread, Xi seeks to save face (and buy time) by saying "China supports the idea of a comprehensive review" — but only after the pandemic is under control," tweeted strategic expert and longtime China watcher Brahma Chellaney.
 
China reported the world's first new coronavirus cases, in the city of Wuhan, to the World Health Organization on December 31. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have since claimed the U.S. has evidence that the disease originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province. Beijing has previously opposed calls for such investigations from Washington and Canberra, but Xi signalled on Monday, May 18 that Beijing would be amenable to an impartial review.
 
“China supports a comprehensive evaluation of the global response to the epidemic after the global epidemic is under control, to sum up experiences and remedy deficiencies,” President Xi told the assembly. “This work needs a scientific and professional attitude, and needs to be led by the WHO; and the principles of objectivity and fairness need to be upheld.”
 
Notably, the new draft resolution moved in the WHO assembly updates an earlier EU version with significantly toughened language, and is backed by key nations including India, Japan, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Indonesia, Russia, and all 27 EU member states, media reports said.
 
The role of WHO too has been questioned and in recent times 'WHO' has been also dubbed sarcastically as Wuhan Health Organisation. It has been alleged that WHO had backed the Chinese version over the crisis. US President Trump has been very vocal against China.
 
Observers say China "has not explained" why it banned domestic flights from Wuhan from January 23 but allowed some international flights to continue operating. There is apprehension that infected travelers from Wuhan—including those who flew from other Chinese cities—"seeded outbreaks in other nations".