More than 110 countries, including Canada, have joined with Australia in pushing for an independent investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to SBS News. Though Australia has not mentioned China directly, this has increased tensions between the island nation communist China, which were already brewing last month.
Late last month, communist China warned Australia about launching an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus. Leaders in Beijing appealed to Australia's interest in Chinese tourism, saying that this could decline. The idea that China would boycott certain goods, such as beef and wine, was also mentioned
But Australia is no longer alone in wanting to see China be held accountable for its mishandling of a virus that has infected over 4 million and killed around 315 thousand people.
The African Group's 54 member states will co-sponsor the motion to join the call for independent inquiry made by Australia. The addition of these nations bring the total number of countries to 110.
The European Union's 27 members are on board with the motion, along with Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey, and New Zealand. Russia, Indonesia, India, Japan, Britain, and Canada, are also part of this coalition.
Australia has also backed Taiwan's entry into the World Health Organization. This is in opposition to the One China Principle, which does not allow for Taiwan to have a voice separate from the mainland. Taiwan currently has "observer status" with the WHO.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne added on Monday that it was encouraging to see all the countries backing the inquiry.
"I think what it illustrates is a broad view that given the experience of COVID-19 - over 300,000 deaths, millions of people around the world losing their jobs, the impact on economies from one corner of the globe to the other - that there is a strong view that it is appropriate to engage in a review of what has happened."
"I don't want to preempt speculate about the outcome, those discussions will be under way later this evening. I think it's a win for the international community."
The draft resolution calls for an impartial, independent, and comprehensive evaluation of the international response to the pandemic.
Health Minister Greg Hunt will be representing Australia at the virtual World Health Assembly meeting on Monday night.
A vote is expected in the early hours of Tuesday morning.