Feature

China Backlash as Australia supports the European Union’s call for COVID-19 Investigation

OPINION |

Australia has now publicly supported a European Union motion for an investigation into the origins and handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, revealed that the Morrison government officially supports the current EU motion.

“We support the EU motion which includes an independent investigation, regulatory work on wet markets and also the potential for independent inspection powers.”

Greg Hunt, Australian Federal Health Minister

It is well documented that the Covid-19 pandemic stemmed from the Wuhan region in China, hence why countries like Australia have received such heavy backlash from the global heavyweight. China is currently Australia’s number one global trading partner. Australia was one of the first countries to call for an independent probe into the spread of COVID-19 across the world, stemming from Wuhan.

However, the motion proposed to the World Health Assembly this week has since gained the support of 122 countries. These include the likes of Russia, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, members of the EU and the African Group.

The motion has called for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to conduct a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation, including using existing mechanisms, as appropriate, to review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to Covid-19.

After backing such a motion, Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, has dismissed allegations that her country is locked in a trade war with China at present. However, the Australian government has not ruled out contacting the World Trade Organisation, if China proceeds to impose trade tariffs.

It has been reported that China may implement 80% tariffs on certain imports to Australia, such as Barley. China has threatened to halt the trade of crucial products such as meat to some motion-supporting countries. The Asian powerhouse has also stated that it may withhold students from studying in overseas countries that support this investigation.

In response to this, US President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off relations with China amidst talks of sanctions that may force a compromise. The two nations have already been enduring a somewhat frosty relationship over the past year.

Last month, Chinese representatives in Canberra accused Australian politicians of regurgitating US beliefs, labelling them as the mouthpiece to Donald trump. They claimed that they are keen to parrot what those Americans have asserted and simply follow them in staging political attacks on China.

The European Union’s economy is strong enough to fight these trade threats from China, as they would continue to deal with more democratically-inclined Asian countries. 

China has maintained its own brand of resilience even after Australia threw their support behind an investigatory motion to the WHO in order to assess the origins and handling of COVID-19. Despite the increasing support for such an investigation into the Chinese origins, it remains to be seen whether such a report is commissioned in the coming weeks.

References



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My name is Seb Jenkins, and I'm an author, designer and freelance journalist from the United Kingdom. I graduated from the University of Kent in 2018, with a degree in journalism. I have been writing novels for over five years now, completing multiple projects in that time. I have also completed countless articles, blogs, fiction pieces, website content and more over the last three years, as well as various editing jobs of all shapes and sizes. In my spare time, I'm always reading and writing.