Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian Answers Question
on WHA draft resolution on COVID-19
At a regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on 19 May, spokesperson Zhao Lijian answered a question on WHA draft resolution on COVID-19.
China Daily: Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on May 18 that the input of so many parties in the EU-sponsored COVID-19 draft resolution at the WHA is a real signal of the importance of the call for an independent, international review proposed by Australia. It's a win for the international community, and Australia, as a strong and active part of that international community, would certainly see it that way. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: First and foremost, China supports a comprehensive evaluation of global COVID-19 response to ensure experience gained and lessons learnt after the pandemic is brought under control, which should be led by WHO and conducted in a science-based, professional, objective and impartial manner. China has been consistent and clear about this all along. The draft resolution on COVID-19 being discussed at this year's WHA is consistent with China's position and reflects the widespread consensus of other countries. China, along with other parties, has actively participated in the consultations on the draft resolution and the co-sponsoring of the draft resolution.
Second, the above-mentioned draft resolution is entirely different from what the Australia called "independent international review". For example, the draft resolution proposes to initiate at the appropriate moment an evaluation rather than to launch an "independent international review" instantly, which confirms WHO's leading role instead of adopting another mechanism. The draft resolution calls for an evaluation of experience gained and lessons learnt from the WHO-coordinated international health response, rather than an inquiry based on the presumption of guilt targeting certain country. We hope Australia will read the text carefully instead of making conclusions based on assumptions.
Lastly, I want to stress that we welcome it if Australia changes its course, completely gives up its political maneuver and returns to the broad consensus of the international community following the relevant WHA resolution.