Xi Jinping announced that China pledges $2 billion as international aid for other countries as they respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chinese president made the announcement on a video conferencing during the opening segment of the 73rd World Health Assembly, a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting.
COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, started in the world’s second-largest economy.
“China will provide 2 billion U.S dollars over two years to help with Covid-19 response, and with economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing countries,“ Xi said, based on an official English translation.
Xi noted that once a vaccine has become available, it “will be made a global public good.” Some Chinese firms are currently developing a COVID-19 vaccine.
Resolution for coronavirus origins research
The annual WHO event is attended by 194 members and typically occurs in Geneva, Switzerland. During this meeting, delegates discuss the organization’s leadership, programs, and financing. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the WHO conference will take place virtually between Monday and Tuesday.
COVID-19 sprang in December 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The coronavirus already reached other parts of the world. It already killed more than 315,000 people. The crisis also led to economic fallout as governments impose movement restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
Before the WHO event took place, around 116 countries agreed to a draft resolution that calls for study of the origins and spread of the coronavirus. The European Union and Australia came up with this resolution.
Reuters reported that if two-thirds of the 194-member assembly support the resolution, it will be effective on Tuesday.
China has not openly heeded to calls for an international probe into the origins of the coronavirus.
Xi did not discuss the draft resolution or China’s stance about it during his speech on Monday. However, he stressed that China has been transparent, open, and responsible in disseminating information to the public. He also said that China has shared the genome sequence of the coronavirus.
“We also need to continue supporting global research by scientists on the source and transmission routes of the virus,“ Xi said.
“China supports the idea of a comprehensive review of the global response to Covid-19 after it is brought under control, to sum up our experience and address deficiencies,” he noted.
“This work should be led by science and professionalism, led by the WHO and conducted in an objective and impartial manner.”
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said that he might return a part of US financing to the WHO. This statement came after he temporarily halted contributions in April amid a review of WHO’s COVID-19 response.
There is no definite mechanism that details how Trump will suspend the funding. Congress allocates much of the funding and sets aside $122 million for the WHO for fiscal year 2020.
According to China, it would give $30 million to the WHO in April as a follow-up to $20 million donation in March, according to Reuters.
On Monday, Xi explained that China is willing to work in particular to strengthen the virus prevention and control efforts in Africa.