Australia’s demand for an investigation into the World Health Organization’s bungled response to the deadly Chinese coronavirus pandemic now has the backing of 62 nations, all willing to support a draft resolution addressing the issue Tuesday at a meeting of the World Health Assembly.
Australia’s motion includes more robust language than that contained in an earlier watered down European Union version. It is supported by key nations including India, Japan, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Indonesia, Russia, Mexico and Brazil, and all 27 E.U. member states amongst others.
The Australian newspaper reports the motion calls on W.H.O. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to “initiate at the earliest appropriate moment … a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the international response to the pandemic, the actions of the W.H.O. and its “timeline” of the pandemic.
Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s refusal to back away from the matter has infuriated China which regards the W.H.O. and its leader very much as an extension of its own geopolitical ambitions.
In recent weeks China has threatened trade penalties for Australia if it continues to defy Beijing, as Breitbart News reported.
The Australians have also been among the most outspoken critics of China’s dangerous refusal to close the live animal “wet markets” seen as spawning grounds for the viral pandemic, and of the W.H.O.’s baffling endorsement of their reopening:
Australia confronted the World Health Organization over claims it supports so-called wet markets reopening in the Chinese city of Wuhan. https://t.co/TjH4HmGDzv
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) April 17, 2020
Morrison previously said his conservative coalition government will not be deterred by China’s litany of threats, as SBS News reported.
“This is a virus that has taken more than 200,000 lives across the world,” he told reporters in Canberra last month. “It has shut down the global economy. The implications and impacts of this are extraordinary.
“Now, it would seem entirely reasonable and sensible that the world would want to have an independent assessment of how this all occurred, so we can learn the lessons and prevent it from happening again.”
China’s anger at Australia’s refusal to bow to its demands is not new, as Breitbart New reported.
China Warns Australia: Drop Coronavirus Probe or Pay an Economic Price https://t.co/V54exGJuOT
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 27, 2020
Beijing did the same thing when Australia became the first country aside from the U.S. to block China’s Huawei telecom giant from supplying equipment for its 5G network, and the latest diplomatic row is seen as an extension of that blow to China’s global standing.
China’s ruling Communist Party is also furious with Australia for being one of the leading voices calling for the W.H.O. to allow Taiwan full membership.