Australia’s Ambassador to the United States Arthur Sinodinos said that the government’s calls to hold an independent international inquiry into the origins and handling of the CCP virus is “pretty sensible.”
“This not an exercise in retribution, it’s not an exercise in revenge or whatever, this is about getting the facts,” Sinodinos told Sky News on Saturday.
Sinodinos, who took over from Joe Hockey as ambassador earlier this year, said he understood why the Chinese regime is being defensive about the prospect of an inquiry into its handling of the (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus from China.
“But my view is we have got a lot to learn from this, China has a lot to learn from this, we’ve all got a lot to learn by comparing how we did things and in the early stages working out what could have been done better,” he said.
He added that the pandemic is the “biggest event probably of our lifetimes.”
Chinese authorities confirmed human-to-human transmission of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus, on Jan. 20—weeks after evidence of such transmission had emerged; reports from medical journal The Lancet say evidence appeared in mid-December of human-to-human transmission. More than 5 million people had left Wuhan, some travelling to other countries, by Jan. 20.
At a press conference on Friday, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said that the Australian government “weren’t at that time of the view that information was being withheld from us.”
Adding directly to Murphy’s comments, Morrison said that Australian authorities “know what’s happened since and we know the devastation that this virus has had on the rest of the world.”
The prime minister said that it’s “just so important” to understand how the virus was able to become “such a broad-based global catastrophe,” to prevent such pandemics from recurring.
“We know it started in China. We know it started in Wuhan,” Morrison said. However, he said Australia so far has no information that would indicate that the virus came from a laboratory.
“You can’t rule anything out in these environments,” Morrison added, saying he believes the most likely scenario was that it originated in a wet market. “But that’s a matter that would have to be thoroughly assessed. This is one of the reasons why it is important that we just have an objective, independent assessment of how this originated and learn the lessons from how that occurred.”
Michael Shoebridge, director of the Defence and National Security Strategy and Policy program at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told The Epoch Times that China’s actions are anxiety “masquerading as strength.”
“The stakes are high for the Chinese government not just internationally but domestically, because a credible international inquiry into the pandemic and events and actions within China at the start will undercut Beijing’s rewriting of history that is trying to tell us the party is triumphant over COVID,” he said.