China, WHO still in consultation to ensure smooth progress of expert team's visit to China for virus origin-tracing: FM
Published: Jan 06, 2021 06:03 PM

Hua Chunying File photo:CGTN

China and the World Health Organization (WHO) are still in consultation to ensure the smooth progress of the visit by the WHO's international expert team to China, and the country is overcoming difficulties to speed up preparations and create conditions for the visit, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday. 

The remarks came at a Tuesday press conference when the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday that he is "disappointed" that Chinese officials have not finalized permission for a team of experts' arrival in China to examine the origins of COVID-19.

China has always held an open, transparent and responsible attitude and taken the lead in working together with WHO on origin-tracing, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press conference. 

The pandemic is still severe and China is actively carrying out domestic epidemic prevention and control work. Despite this, China is still overcoming difficulties to speed up preparation work and trying its best to create favorable conditions for the WHO international expert team to visit China, which the WHO clearly knows, Hua said. 

Virus origin-tracing is a complex scientific issue. In order to ensure the smooth progress of the visit by WHO's international expert team to China, necessary procedures need to be completed and specific arrangements need to be made. China and WHO are still negotiating on this, Hua said. 

There has never been any problem in the cooperation between China and WHO. It's not just a visa issue, as the two sides are in close communication on the specific date and arrangements for the visit, Hua stressed.

China invited WHO expert teams on two occasions separately in February and July 2019, to visit China to carry out cooperation in virus origin-tracing. Since reaching agreements on the arrangements for the international expert team in October, the two sides have held four video conferences, separately on October 30, December 3, 10 and 18, 2019, during which Chinese experts shared their research findings on the virus origin, according to Hua.

Ghebreyesus said at a Tuesday press conference that two members of an international scientific team had departed from their home countries for China over the last 24 hours as part of an arrangement between WHO and the Chinese government, but the Chinese officials had not yet finalized the necessary authorization for the team's arrival in China, which led to other members not being able to travel at the last minute.

Ghebreyesus said that he had contacted Chinese senior officials and was "assured that China is speeding up the internal procedures for the earliest possible deployment," according to the WHO website. 

Global Times

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