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Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian:
China Welcomes WHA's Adoption of the Resolution on COVID-19 Response

2020-05-21

At a regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on 20 May, spokesperson Zhao Lijian answered a question on WHA's adoption of the resolution on COVID-19 response.

CCTV: The 73rd WHA adopted the EU-proposed resolution on COVID-19 response. Do you have any comment? Why did China co-sponsor this resolution?

Zhao Lijian: On May19, the 73rd WHA adopted the resolution on COVID-19 response by consensus. China welcomes that.

The resolution unequivocally affirms and supports WHO's leading role and calls on member states to prevent discrimination and stigmatization, combat misinformation and disinformation, strengthen cooperation on the research on diagnostics, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines, and the zoonotic source of the virus and evaluate the work of WHO at the appropriate moment. All these are in line with China's position and meet the shared aspiration of the overwhelming majority of the international community. In light of this, China is, along with other more than 140 countries, a co-sponsor of the above-mentioned draft resolution and joined the consensus.

On tracing the source of the virus, the resolution basically follows the temporary recommendations issued under the International Health Regulations upon the advice of the Emergency Committee for COVID-19 on May 1, strictly restricting the relevant research to identifying the zoonotic source of the virus, intermediate host and the route of introduction to the human population, to enhance preparedness of the international community in the future. This is also a recommendation made by Director-General Tedros. Indeed, certain countries proposed to prioritize tracing the source of virus in the consultations, but the overwhelming majority of countries believed the most pressing concern is epidemic prevention and control. They didn't agree to make tracing the source of virus a priority and rejected such wording, which proves that politicization of this issue gains no support.

On the evaluation of WHO response, the resolution decides that the evaluation should be conducted after consultations between the Director-General and member states, with the aim to review experience gained and make recommendations for future work. The WHO previously made evaluation on its H1N1 flu and Ebola responses, a customary practice for the organization after a major epidemic. The resolution asks for a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation. These four words - stepwise, impartial, independent and comprehensive - are very important as they indicate that the evaluation shall not be monopolized by a handful of countries.

China hopes this resolution adopted by WHA will be followed through upon in a comprehensive and accurate manner.

The rumor that China was "forced" to co-sponsor the proposal, as falsely claimed by certain media, is totally nonsense. As a matter of fact, China, along with the majority of countries, firmly thwarted the attempt of a few countries to politicize the origin tracing and the evaluation of COVID-19 response, and secured an impartial and objective resolution. Under such circumstances, we took the initiative to be a co-sponsor. We advise a few countries to stop fabricating lies in an attempt to seek excuse for its own failure.

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