Coronavirus: China would welcome ‘international review’ into COVID-19 pandemic, says ambassador to UK

03-Jun-2020 Intellasia | News Sky | 6:02 AM Print This Post

China would welcome an “international review” into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, Beijing’s ambassador to the UK has told Sky News.

Speaking on Monday’s edition of After The Pandemic, a Sky News series of special programmes looking at what life will be like after COVID-19, Liu Xiaoming said the purpose of such an investigation should not be to “label any country”.

“This review should be independent, free from politicisation, it should be based on science, the scientists should take the lead,” he said.

“The WHO [World Health Organization] should lead this independent review.

Liu rejected criticism of China’s response to the virus, claiming Beijing had “wasted no time in sharing information” with the international community.

“China’s record is clean [and] it can stand the test of time and history,” he declared.

However, a YouGov poll for Sky News found that 76 percent of respondents thought the outbreak had damaged China’s global standing.

A total of 68 percent thought the same of the United States, while 43 percent also thought the UK’s global standing had been hit.

Liu also claimed that the pandemic will “make the world more united” and countries who had “rejected World Health Organization advice have paid a high price”.

On the search for a vaccine, the ambassador said China is in the “advanced” stages of researching one and would “share it with the rest of the world” if it made a breakthrough.

The COVID-19 outbreak began in the city of Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province.

It has since spread around the world.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 6.2 million cases of the coronavirus around the globe, with more than 370,000 deaths recorded.

Ambassador Liu was joined on Monday’s programme by David Miliband, former foreign secretary and now chief executive of the International Rescue Committee, historian Niall Ferguson and Mary Robinson, former UN human rights commissioner and former president of Ireland.

Ahead of the start of After The Pandemic, Sky News commissioned polling on the post-COVID-19 world.

One of the questions asked was what the biggest issue facing the world will be.

Top of the pile was climate change (33%), followed by future pandemics (15%), poverty (14%), China (11%) and terrorism (3%).

Ms Robinson said nations around the world needed to emerge from the pandemic with a clear and unified plan to tackle climate change, but added she was “distressed” by what she was hearing at the moment.

She warned against a return to “business as usual”, telling Sky News that a number of lessons could be gleaned from the “sudden, dramatic downturn” brought on by the coronavirus.

Ms Robinson said one of these was that “government matters”, noting that a number of countries with female leaders have fared particularly well, citing the likes of New Zealand, Denmark, Germany, Iceland and Finland.

Miliband said the coronavirus outbreak was “not a short term crisis, it’s a medium to long-term change in the way we run the planet” that shows “our connected world suffers from disconnected government”.

He added that there needs to be a “better and more independent WHO” as a result of COVID-19.

Ferguson said the WHO “did not cover itself in glory” early on in the outbreak and “legitimate questions” need to be asked about its response.

But he said “fault does not entirely lie with China”, adding that the US had “grotesquely mishandled the crisis and left it far too late to take action”.

Dermot Murnaghan will be hosting After the Pandemic: Our New World every night until Thursday. It’s a series of special live programmes about what our world will be like once the pandemic is over.

Tuesday’s theme is Economy and Work. He’ll be joined by the Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, Stephanie Kelton, whose forthcoming book explores how best to deal with issues ranging from poverty to building resilient infrastructure. Alongside them both is Lord Browne, the former chief executive of BP and Stephen Moore, senior economic adviser to Donald Trump.


Category: China

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