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China defends itself at World Health Assembly

All national dailies reported on the World Health Assembly that began on Monday via videoconference. Chinese leader Xi Jinping gave a speech at the opening ceremony and pledged $2 billion over two years to help developing countries combat the coronavirus. The papers wrote that a decision was not made on Monday for Taiwan to participate in the meeting as an observer. Nikkei wrote that although Xi called for international cooperation in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, China’s rift with the United States will likely deepen. Sankei speculated that China’s pledge of $2 billion may be aimed at deflecting criticism of its responsibility in spreading the new coronavirus. Yomiuri wrote that although Xi stressed that China has acted with openness, transparency, and responsibility and provided information on the COVID-19 pandemic to the WHO and relevant countries in a timely manner, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar indirectly criticized China for its failure to provide necessary information to the world. The paper wrote that Secretary of State Pompeo commented on the postponement of a decision to allow Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly by saying in a statement that although WHO Director-General Tedros had the legal power to include Taiwan this year, he chose not to under pressure from the People’s Republic of China. Asahi and Mainichi wrote that at a foreign ministry press conference on Monday China expressed its intention to accept the proposal by the EU to send an international mission to China to investigate the origin of COVID-19.

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