One of China’s senior diplomats declined to specify the Wuhan-born coronavirus originated in Wuhan, while accusing the Australian government of undermining the relationship between the two countries with calls for an independent investigation into the virus.
Wang Xining, the deputy head of mission at the Chinese Embassy in Australia, gave a rare address at the National Press Club in Canberra where he said Australia ‘s insistence on identifying the sources of the virus had harmed international relations.
“All of a sudden, they heard this shocking news of a proposal coming from Australia, which is supposed to be a good friend of China.”
Australia was one of the first countries to press for an international inquiry into the virus’ roots.
The World Health Assembly, the World Health Organization’s legislative body, subsequently adopted a resolution from the European Union, co-sponsored by both Australia and China, calling for a “comprehensive, independent and impartial” inquiry.
But Mr Wang said China claimed that Australia ‘s early drive was unreasonable because the idea that Wuhan was the source of the virus had been advanced.
“We believe this proposal was targeted against China alone, because during that time Australian ministers claimed that the virus originated from Wuhan, from China, and they did not pinpoint any other places as a possible source,” he said.
“We don’t think it was fair.”
Asked to explain, Mr. Wang admitted that the Chinese city was the first place to report a virus cluster, but rejected suggestions that indicated that the virus originated from Wuhan.
“I think it’s up to the scientists to find out the origin and also how it’s been dealt with by different governments,” he said.