China supports inquiry ‘after pandemic brought under control’, says Xi

President Xi Jinping says China has shared information on the virus in a timely manner. (AP pic)

GENEVA: China supports a “comprehensive evaluation” of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic after it “has been brought under control”, President Xi Jinping told the World Health Assembly on Monday.

Xi told the virtual meeting via video that China has “always had an open, transparent and responsible attitude”, and had shared information on the virus in a timely manner.

The assembly, held online for the first time in its history, is set to discuss a resolution tabled by the European Union that calls for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the international response to the coronavirus crisis.

In his speech, Xi said that the inquiry into the global response should “sum up experiences and improve shortcomings”.

Governments including the US and Australia have also called in recent weeks for an investigation into the origins of the virus, which has become a flashpoint in deteriorating tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Both US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have accused China of a lack of transparency over the issue, and repeatedly pushed the theory that the virus emerged from a Wuhan maximum-security laboratory.

Most scientists believe the virus originated in animals before it was passed on to humans.

China has strenuously denied accusations of a cover-up, insisting it has always shared information with the WHO and other countries in a timely manner.