Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye told the outlet on Monday that while China’s response may not have been “perfect,” Australia’s inquiry was “dangerous,” and could lead to Chinese consumers avoiding Chinese exports and travel.
“So what is being done by the Australia side?” asked Cheng. “The proposition is a kind of teaming up with those forces in Washington and to launch a kind of political campaign against China.”
“The Chinese public is frustrated, dismayed and disappointed with what Australia is doing now,” said Cheng. “I think in the long term, if the mood is going from bad to worse, people would think ‘Why should we go to such a country that is not so friendly to China?’ The tourists may have second thoughts.“
Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne hit back against the call for an independent inquiry, saying “Australia has made a principled call for an independent review of the COVID-19 outbreak, an unprecedented global crisis with severe health, economic and social impacts.”
“We reject any suggestion that economic coercion is an appropriate response to a call for such an assessment, when what we need is global co-operation.”
According to Sky News reporter Tom Connell, Australian politicians are in agreement over the need for a “global independent” investigation into the Wuhan coronavirus, adding that “China’s response, of course, has been to push back and the stakes did increase today from the Chinese ambassador in this interview with the Australian Financial Review.”
China’s opposition to an Australian investigation comes after the United States reportedly launched a “full-scale investigation” into whether COVID-19 escaped from a biolab in Wuhan, China, according to Fox News.
According to the report, US intelligence operatives are gathering information regarding the laboratory and the initial outbreak of the virus, which was found in a horseshoe bat specimen collected by scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2013 in a cave in Yunnan, China.
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