In China’s defence, supporters point out it sequenced the genome of the virus early and imposed an effective lockdown, once it realised the gravity of the threat.
Xi Jinping did not refer directly to the European Australian draft resolution but voiced vague support for the idea of “supporting global research by scientists on the source and transmission routes of the virus”.
Hopes of a united global response to the pandemic have been hampered by sharpening US-Chinese divisions over its cause. US president Donald Trump says he is currently not speaking to Xi Jinping.
Mr Trump is critical both of China and the WHO, and has withdrawn US funding for the global health body.
Critics say he is scapegoating China to cover for his administration’s mishandling of the pandemic and is likely to continue doing so in the run up to the presidential election.