Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on May 18, 2020
The Australian: More than 100 of the WHO's almost 190 members now support an independent inquiry into the coronavirus. Those countries on every continent in the world include Russia, Japan, India, the EU, Brazil, Australia and almost every nation in Africa. Will China support the independent inquiry when it is introduced at tomorrow's WHA?
Zhao Lijian: What you said is not accurate. The European Union recently submitted a draft resolution on COVID-19 to the 73rd World Health Assembly on which all parties have reached consensus. On the tracing of the origin of the virus, all parties agreed to choose wording following the recommendations of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee and ask the WHO Director-General to closely cooperate with OIE, FAO and the member states to identify the animal source of the virus, its route for transmission to humans and possible intermediate hosts, aiming to reduce the risk of similar incidents in the future. This demonstrates a scientific and professional spirit. As to the evaluation of WHO response to COVID-19, the draft resolution requests the Director-General to, after consultations with member states, initiate at the appropriate moment a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation to review experience gained and lessons learnt from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19 and propose suggestions for the work in the future. This is a customary practice for the WHO after dealing with a pandemic. For the international community, the above-mentioned is the largest possible common ground on the relevant issue.
During the consultations on the resolution, the overwhelming majority of countries believed the pandemic has yet to pass and the cooperation on COVID-19 remains the most pressing task. It is immature to immediately initiate the review and trace the origin of the virus for the time being.
We hope all parties will uphold a science-based and cooperative spirit at this WHA and focus on having constructive discussions on enhancing international public health cooperation and improving international public health system.
Beijing Youth Daily: On May 14, the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relation (CICIR), the Carter Center of the United States and the South Africa Institute of International Affairs jointly held a virtual workshop to discuss trilateral COVID-19 cooperation between China, the United States and Africa. How does the Chinese Foreign Ministry comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: It is helpful for think tanks in China, the US and Africa to have such discussions. The virus is a common enemy to all mankind, regardless of borders or races. Solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon for the international community to defeat the pandemic. The current situation in Africa is grim. Closer cooperation between China, the US and Africa can play an important role in African countries' fight against COVID-19. China holds a positive stance on that.