Australia says world needs to know origins of COVID-19
By Colin Packham SYDNEY (Reuters) - The world's nations must do all they can to understand the origins of COVID-19, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday, comments that could worsen tensions with China. Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Morrison said an inquiry into the roots of the virus would minimise the threat of another global pandemic.
By Colin Packham
SYDNEY (Reuters) - The world's nations must do all they can to understand the origins of COVID-19, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday, comments that could worsen tensions with China.
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Morrison said an inquiry into the roots of the virus would minimise the threat of another global pandemic.
"This virus has inflicted a calamity on our world and its peoples. We must do all we can to understand what happened for no other purpose than to prevent it from happening again," Morrison said via a teleconference video link.
"There is a clear mandate to identify the zoonotic source of the COVID-19 virus and how it was transmitted to humans."
Morrison's comments came after similar comments by the prime minister earlier in the year soured ties between Australia and China.
At that time, he led global demands for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19. China strongly rebuffed that move, with Beijing's ambassador to Canberra warning the inquiry calls could sour trade ties.
Since then, China has imposed trade sanctions on Australia. It suspended some beef imports on a technicality and effectively blocked a A$439 million ($308.5 million) trade in barley by slapping tariffs of 80.5% on the Australian import. China has also launched an anti-dumping probe into Australian wine imports.
Meanwhile, Australia called on all nations to share a COVID-19 vaccine should one be developed.
Australia earlier this year signed a vaccine agreement with AstraZeneca
Australia has said it will share supplies with smaller Pacific Island nations.
(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.