Chinese Diplomat Accuses Australia Of Being 'Unfair' On Coronavirus Inquiry
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A top Chinese diplomat has come out swinging against Australian politicians.
Chinese Embassy Representative Wang Xining told the National Press Club that it is unfair that Australia pushed hard for an international, independent inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic.
Dozens of countries signed on and agreed an investigation was needed, so that lessons could be learned and governments could hopefully prevent it happening again.
That has caused tensions between Australia and China, and Mr Xining has placed the blame solely on Australia's shoulders.
He said at the National Press Club yesterday (26 August): "First, the Australian Government never consulted the Chinese Government in whatever way before the [inquiry] proposal came out.
"We don't think this conforms to the spirit of comprehensive, strategic partnership. It lacks the least courtesy and diplomacy. The proposal came at a time when the US was trying to [blame China] so the proposal would help Washington to put more pressure on China."
Mr Xining said a partnership between two countries is like a marriage, which takes 'concerted determination and joint effort to make it thrive'. However in his analogy, the top diplomat said when a marriage breaks down it only affects two people, when it's two countries it affects millions.
While he didn't directly accuse Australia of being the one responsible for the marriage breakdown, he certainly angled China as the one wronged.
He then claimed Australia's push for an inquiry was 'unfair' on China.
He said: "During that time Australian ministers claimed that the virus originated from Wuhan, China, they did not point to add any other places as a source. We were singled out, we don't think it is fair.
"We believe the most authoritative institute is WHO, and it was criticised by Australian politicians. And there was blame on China for their failure to control the spread of the disease, and the sharp rise in cases, and try to shirk responsibility."
When asked to clarify his statements about Wuhan, Mr Xining said he accepted the first cases of the virus were recorded in the city, but said this did not necessarily mean the disease originated there.
He said: "I think it's up to the scientists to find out the origin and also how it's been dealt with by different governments."
Australia has said the investigation isn't about pointing fingers, but intended to highlight what can be done in the future to prevent another pandemic.
According to the ABC, the motion didn't even mention China or Wuhan and simply called on The World Health Organization to be able to do a thorough evaluation to 'identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts'.