Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday threw his weight behind calls for an international inquiry into China’s initial response to the coronavirus and its origins.
“I think such an inquiry is important and we can respectfully have a difference of view from that that has been put by China,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
In his comments Morrison backed his foreign minister, Marise Payne, who on Sunday called for an independent inquiry, saying she did so with his “very strong support.”
Morrison said it was important that the World Health Organization (WHO) and all parties that are part of the WHO “act with great transparency,” regardless of where a new health threat originated.
Both China and the UN health agency are facing mounting global scrutiny of their handling of the coronavirus crisis.
U.S. President Donald Trump in mid-April suspended WHO funding, claiming the agency “defended the actions of the Chinese government” and had helped cover up the danger and extent of the outbreak.
Top-ranking politicians in Germany, France, Britain and Australia have also raised questions about Beijing’s response to the crisis.
China has rejected both the international criticism and the calls for an inquiry.