World deserves the truth about China and COVID, says PM
Australians want to know how the pandemic which changed the world started, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said as he defended his early demands for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
China has explicitly stated this is one of the reasons for the current tensions between the two countries.
But Mr Morrison said it was the right step to take because Australia was "honest in its dealings".
"We honestly want to know how this started. Australians want to know," he said. "I would have expected a forthright Australian government that is interested in understanding the truth of what has occurred to be open about that.
"Why would you be embarrassed about asking?"
One of China's top diplomats in Australia Wang Xining said "it hurt the feelings of the people of China" when Australia singled out Wuhan as the origin of the virus.
China finally let World Health Organisation inspectors into the country last week after months of delays.
Australia called for an investigation into the origins of the virus in April last year, and eventually backed a motion from the European Union for the WHO to conduct the inquiry. The first public reporting of the coronavirus was on December 31 out of Wuhan and it was acknowledged to be a global pandemic by WHO in March.
Outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed over the weekend that US intelligence agencies have proof the virus escaped from a Chinese lab.
Originally published as World deserves the truth about China and COVID, says PM