Trump sets stage for UNSC meet on Covid-19 on April 9; pans WHO, China

China, supported by Russia and South Africa, had blocked the last attempt to discuss Covid-19 by the UNSC
UNSC will hold the first informal discussion on Covid-19 after a statement by UN secretary general António Guterres(Agencies)
UNSC will hold the first informal discussion on Covid-19 after a statement by UN secretary general António Guterres(Agencies)
Updated on Apr 07, 2020 11:21 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

After US President Donald Trump virtually blamed the World Health Organisation for playing the Chinese side on the coronavirus pandemic, heat will now mount on Beijing at an informal discussion on the virus outbreak in the UN Security Council on Thursday, April 9, at 3 pm EST (April 10 12.30 am). The informal discussion will be preceded by a briefing by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

“The WHO really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately, I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation,” Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday. It is not what prompted the outburst but as one Indian analyst put it, Trump had hit the nail on its head.

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected to the post after China backed him in the May 2017 election as he defeated US-backed Dr David Nabarro, who was the candidate of the UK. Despite the coronavirus being detected in Wuhan in China as early as November 17, 2019, the WHO categorised Covid 19 outbreak as a pandemic on 12 March 2020 when it had crossed the borders and created havoc in Europe. By then, the virus had already killed 1,000 people in the european region.

All the 10 non-permanent members of the UN Security Council have backed the informal discussion led by the UNSC President; the post is held by the Dominican Republic. But whether the closed-door discussion will conclude with any outcome depends on the proposals put up and the exercise of veto powers of China and its ally Russia.

If President Trump’s tweet is indicative of the US mind, then the vote will be 13 to 2 or 14 to 1 depending on how Russia plays. Other two members of the P5, the UK and France have suffered at the hands of pandemic and so has Europe.

While China may say that the pandemic is not a peace and security issue - the argument used to block a request by Estonia for a discussion last month - the economic misery that the pandemic has hurled the world towards a deep crisis.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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