Why China Co-Sponsored WHO Resolution To Investigate Coronavirus Response

Akshita Jain
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly via video link in Beijing, May 18, 2020.

On Tuesday, member states of the World Health Organisation (WHO) unanimously passed a resolution calling for an independent “comprehensive evaluation” of the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The resolution did not name any country, but called on the director-general to initiate “at the earliest appropriate moment” an evaluation that would “review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to Covid-19”.

In a not-entirely-unexpected move, China, which has been facing backlash and calls for a probe into the origins of the coronavirus, co-sponsored the resolution. In a press briefing on Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that the text of the current draft resolution unequivocally affirms and supports WHO’s leading role and the proposals are in line with China’s position. 

Tuesday’s resolution, according to Reuters, also calls for a review into how the novel coronavirus spread after making the jump from animals to humans. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had on Monday agreed to initiate an independent review. 

“I will initiate an independent evaluation at the earliest appropriate moment to review experience gained and lessons learned, and to make recommendations to improve national and global pandemic preparedness and response,” he had said. 

Jabin Thomas Jacob, associate professor at the Department of International Relations and Governance Studies of Shiv Nadar University (SNU), told HuffPost India that the resolution did not pin any blame on China, giving it a clear advantage.

″(The resolution) is open-ended about where the virus originated and this allows China to continue its disinformation campaign to paint the US, France or whatever country it chooses as the point of origin of the virus,” he said.

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