Taiwan says World Health Organization yielded to pressure from China

18 Mai, 2020, 18:21 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
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Chinese President Xi Jinping delivering a speech via video link at the opening of the World Health Assembly virtual meeting from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, on May 18, 2020.

By referring to the vaccine as a "global public good", the Chinese leader echoed language in a resolution put forth by dozens of countries in Europe, Africa and elsewhere - but not backed by the US - that deems widespread immunization against COVID-19 as a global public good to end the pandemic.

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The resolution also calls for the World Health Organization to work closely with other worldwide agencies and countries to identify the animal source of the virus and figure out how it first jumped to humans.

"Director-General, as you go through this crisis, be assured that you have Switzerland's full support and cooperation", Simonetta Sommaruga told the online World Health Assembly, referring to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the event, lamenting that a number of countries had ignored the recommendations of the WHO.

"While this has been an ongoing concern for several years, this has taken on a heightened attention this year in response to the global pandemic", Bremberg said.

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The EU resolution proposes that the independent evaluation should be initiated "at the earliest appropriate moment" and should, among other issues, examine "the actions of World Health Organization and their timelines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic".

"All along we have acted with openness, transparency and responsibility", Xi said. Some countries still suffering high daily death tolls from COVID-19 have said it is too soon for an investigation.

China has permitted its fourth potential vaccine to launch clinical trials as scientists around the globe race to find a cure for the coronavirus.

Despite the tensions, countries hope to adopt a resolution by consensus urging a joint response to the pandemic. Tedros welcomed the call, saying he would "initiate an independent evaluation at the earliest appropriate moment".

The remarks follow President Trump's frequent criticisms of both China and the WHO - remarks that increased as the number of reported cases and deaths in the USA outpaced any other country in the world.

Names on a draft resolution seen by Reuters on Monday showed support from 116 members was locked in, although Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said negotiations were ongoing and she did not want to pre-empt the outcome.

Chen said Taiwan had not received an invitation to the meeting. On Monday, the WHA chose to put off discussion on Taiwan until later this year.

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