China’s President Xi Jinping said Monday that China will contribute $2 billion in aid to combat the coronavirus in other countries as the world’s second largest economy works to repair its global image after the pandemic spread beyond its borders.
The funds, which will be distributed over two years, are intended to “help with Covid-19 response, and with economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing countries,” Xi said at a convening of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization.
Additionally, the Chinese president said a vaccine for the virus “will be made a global public good” when it becomes available and added that countries must “continue supporting global research by scientists on the source and transmission routes of the virus.”
Xi also defended his country’s handling of the pandemic, which has been sharply criticized by U.S. officials and other countries, insisting that China has been prompt and transparent in sharing information about the virus with the WHO.
“We have shared control and treatment experience with the world without reservation,” Xi said in his speech. “We have done everything in our power to support and assist countries in need.”
The U.S. intelligence community concluded in a classified report that China deliberately provided incomplete public numbers for coronavirus cases and deaths resulting from the infection.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month the U.S. “strongly believed” China flouted World Health Organization rules by neglecting to report on the outbreak in a “timely fashion,” and did not report on the community spread of the virus “for a month until it was in every province inside of China.”
Xi added that China supports a full review of the global response to the coronavirus.
“China supports the idea of a comprehensive review of the global response to Covid-19 after it is brought under control, to sum up our experience and address deficiencies,” Xi said. “This work should be led by science and professionalism, led by the WHO and conducted in an objective and impartial manner.”
The Chinese president did not mention a specific proposal put forth by the European Union and Australia asking that an international investigation be launched into the origins of the coronavirus, which first broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The inquiry, supported by the U.S., could send international inspectors to Wuhan. China has vehemently rejected the proposal, saying it is an attempt by the Trump administration to blame China for the pandemic and shift attention away from its own mistakes.
As of Monday morning, the coronavirus has infected more than 4.7 million people worldwide, and more than 315,000 people have died after being infected.