Scott Morrison doubles the call for an investigation into the origins of Covid-19 as Australia risks further backlash from China after months of economic sanctions
- Australia has vaccinated 70 percent of the adult population against Covid-19
- Scott Morrison urged ‘accelerated efforts’ to identify virus origin
- China has already been angered by the statements and has hit back with sanctions
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has redoubled calls for an independent investigation into the origins of Covid-19, despite China causing economic pain to Australia for months.
More than 70 percent of Australia’s adult population has received one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while more than half have had two doses, Morrison told the United Nations General Assembly in a pre-recorded speech on Friday.
But he said preventing future pandemics remained a priority and urged “accelerated efforts” to establish how Covid-19 first emerged.
“Australia called for an independent assessment and sees understanding the cause of this pandemic not as a political issue but as essential to avoiding the next,” Morrison said.
“We need to know so we can prevent this death and evil from being brought upon the world again.
“That may be our only motivation.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison meets US Vice President Kamala Harris and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in Washington DC
In what appeared to be a response to the original April 2020 call for an independent assessment, China has targeted Australia’s agricultural and resource sector, with measures affecting exports, including wine, seafood, barley and coal, it said. treasurer Josh Frydenberg earlier this month.
Those trade moves dropped total exports to China by about $5.4 billion over the year to the June quarter, Mr Frydenberg said, although most of these goods were successfully diverted elsewhere.
The Prime Minister also said Australia supports calls for a stronger and more independent World Health Organization, with improved surveillance and pandemic powers.
And he backed the recent decision to develop nuclear-powered submarines as part of a new security pact with the United States and the United Kingdom, which has been backfired by France and China.
The deal saw Australia tear up a $90 billion contract with France for diesel submarines, and instead the US and UK will share sensitive technology to enable the development of Australia’s first nuclear-powered submarines.
The Chinese government said the “extremely irresponsible” deal would seriously undermine regional peace and stability, while the nationalist Global Times tabloid issued an editorial warning Australia not to act provocatively or else China would “certainly punish it without mercy.”
Meanwhile, France recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia for consultations sparked by the “exceptional seriousness” of Canberra’s surprising decision.
Mr Morrison wants further research into the origins of Covid-19 and China’s role in the pandemic
But Morrison said AUKUS is designed to advance “the cause of peace, stability and security in the Indo-Pacific region.”
“It is essential that countries pursue these interests in a way that is mutually respectful and supports stability and security,” he said.
“Because we want to maintain an open, rules-based international system that supports peace, prosperity, human dignity and the aspirations of all sovereign nations.”
“A world order where sovereign nations can flourish, free from coercion, through concerted and purposeful action.”
Mr Morrison also stated that Australia has a ‘proven track record’ of meeting its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Australia, he said, had the world’s highest use of solar on rooftops and was “well on track” to meet its 2030 Paris commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels. to surpass.