U.S., China Relations Deteriorate Amid Coronavirus Pandemic; Australia, E.U. Express Frustration

Reuters: Australia annoyed as U.S. pushes Wuhan lab COVID-19 theory
“Australian officials are frustrated that their push for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus is being undermined by the White House, which has sought to link the outbreak to a Chinese lab, government, diplomatic and intelligence sources told Reuters…” (Needham/Packham, 5/8).

Reuters: Wuhan market had role in virus outbreak, but more research needed: WHO
“A wholesale market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan played a role in the outbreak of the novel coronavirus last year, as the source or possibly as an ‘amplifying setting,’ the World Health Organization said on Friday, calling for more research…” (Nebehay, 5/8).

Reuters: E.U. ambassador to China says rising Sino-U.S. tensions not helpful
“Rising Sino-U.S. tension is problematic and undermines the broad multinational cooperation needed to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, the European Union’s ambassador to China said on Thursday…” (Woo et al., 5/7).

Washington Post: China, U.S. stand by trade deal as coronavirus crisis pushes relations to lowest level in decades
“U.S. and Chinese economic officials struck a conciliatory tone during a call on Friday as they discussed the prospects of China fulfilling a ‘Phase 1’ trade deal that President Trump has threatened to scrap in the coming days as bilateral relations fray. … The call was the first dialogue between top-level trade officials since the partial agreement was signed in the White House’s East Room on Jan. 15. The coronavirus, which at that time was already sweeping across the city of Wuhan, burst into full view the following week as Chinese officials finally acknowledged its infectious potential and scrambled to seal off central Hubei province…” (Shih, 5/8).