Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra did not mention China by name in his Tuesday remarks to the World Health Assembly (WHA), the governing body of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Becerra made multiple clear references to China but did not specifically address criticisms to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) or Chinese President Xi Jinping. The only foreign country or state-like entity Becerra named specifically was Taiwan, which he said should be added to the WHA as an observing member.
The top health official in the Biden administration made an apparent reference to China when he called for a “transparent, science-based” phase two of the WHO investigation into the origins of COVID-19. He added that the investigation must “give international experts the independence to fully assess the source of the virus and the early days of the outbreak.”
The initial investigation by the WHO earlier this year into the origin or the pandemic was compromised in part by a lack of cooperation and transparency from the CCP. Chinese officials limited access to key information, and the WHO has been accused of letting China set the agency’s agenda since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. (RELATED: Blinken: China’s ‘Failure’ To Share Info About Virus Led To ‘Much More Egregious Results’)
Becerra also stressed the importance of “improving global triggers, so all countries take swift action toward the next biological threat.”
The CCP attempted to cover up information and reporting about COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic, a strategic direction some critics allege prevented the world from quickly and effectively responding to the virus.
The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to an inquiry on why Becerra failed to name China, despite these apparent points pertaining to the CCP’s pandemic response. (RELATED: State Secretary Demands WHO Include Taiwan At Assembly Despite Chinese Protest)
Taiwan was once again prevented joining the WHA at this year’s deliberations. It was allowed into the body as an observing member between 2008 and 2016, before being removed as a result of Chinese pressure. In 2020, a senior WHO official refused to finish an interview when the questioner mentioned Taiwan by name.
Other members of the Biden administration have expressed concern over China’s influence on the WHO, specifically the organization’s COVID-19 origin investigation. Still, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the body after former President Donald Trump declared the U.S. would leave.