China accuses Australia of parroting US in its call for COVID-19 inquiry

Published: 02 May, 2020 13:43 IST | Agencies | Canberra

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday stood firm on his call for an inquiry and denied any motivation

Engineers work on monkey kidney cells for an experimental vaccine in Beijing. Pic/AFP
Engineers work on monkey kidney cells for an experimental vaccine in Beijing. Pic/AFP

China's warning of trade repercussions from Australia's campaign for an independent inquiry into COVID-19 has rattled Australian business leaders as President Donald Trump's administration urges other governments to back such a probe. China has accused Australia of parroting the US in its call for an inquiry independent of the World Health Organisation to determine the origins of COVID-19 and how the world responded to the emerging pandemic.

Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye used an Australian newspaper interview this week to warn that pursuing an inquiry could spark a Chinese consumer boycott of students and tourists visiting Australia as well as of sales of major exports including beef and wine. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday stood firm on his call for an inquiry and denied any motivation other than to prevent such a pandemic from happening again.

"I don't think anybody's in any fantasy land about where it started. It started in China. What the world over needs to know is how did it start and what are the lessons that can be learnt," Morrison said. "That needs to be done independently and why do we want to know that? Because it could happen again."

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