E.U. Draft Resolution Calling For Coronavirus Inquiry Expected To Be Endorsed By WHA; China Pledges $2B Over 2 Years, Backs Review Of Global COVID-19 Response

ABC (Australia): Greg Hunt ‘expects’ push for coronavirus probe to be endorsed by WHA
“Almost 120 nations have now backed an international push for a coronavirus inquiry, with Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt saying it is ‘expected to be endorsed’ at the World Health Assembly in the next two days. Government MPs claimed vindication yesterday after 62 nations backed a European Union (E.U.) draft motion calling for an ‘impartial, independent, and comprehensive evaluation’ of the ‘international health response to COVID-19.’ A group of more than 50 African nations has also thrown its weight behind the group, meaning 116 countries are now co-sponsoring the draft motion…” (Dziedzic, 5/17).

AP: China announces $2 billion in virus help at WHO assembly
“China will provide $2 billion over two years to fight the coronavirus pandemic, President Xi Jinping said Monday, rallying around the World Health Organization and its efforts even as the Trump administration has [frozen] funding for the U.N. health agency. … The $2 billion over the next two years will support COVID-19 response efforts, particularly in developing countries, Xi said…” (Keaten/Cheng, 5/18).

AP: Taiwan: Won’t press for World Health Assembly participation
“Taiwan will not press for participation at the World Health Assembly beginning Monday, but will continue to donate medical supplies abroad and protest China’s ‘two-faced behavior’ that excludes it from such forums, the island’s foreign minister said…” (5/18).

Reuters: China defends handling of coronavirus, backs review of global response under WHO
“China’s president called on Monday for an independent review of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic under the World Health Organization once the virus is under control, and defended Beijing’s own handling of the pandemic. … The World Health Assembly is expected to discuss a resolution being presented by the European Union that calls for an independent evaluation of the WHO’s performance under its director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Names on a draft resolution seen by Reuters showed support from 116 of the 194 countries in the WHO…” (Nebehay et al., 5/18).

Wall Street Journal: Pandemic Review Still in Balance as China, U.S. Weigh Response
“…It isn’t clear if the resolution, to be considered at a WHO summit likely on Tuesday, will be blocked by the Trump administration, which has pushed for an inquiry much more squarely targeted at China. Nor is it clear if Beijing will accept the resolution since China has opposed any inquiry that could blame the country for its failure to stop the virus when it first emerged in the central Hubei province. Instead, the inquiry shows the large number of countries trying to find a middle course between the two geopolitical rivals, with many governments in agreement that the WHO lacked the powers to challenge early reassurances from China, and was reluctant to publicly criticize one of its most powerful members…” (Norman/Hinshaw, 5/17).

Additional coverage of the World Health Assembly and the impacts of tensions among the U.S., China, and Taiwan is available from Al Jazeera, AP, Devex (2), NBC, New York Times, NPR (2) (3), Reuters, and Washington Post.