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The US has been one of the biggest critics of the way China handled the virus but also its alleged lack of cooperation with other states in combating COVID-19. Donald Trump has stated the US has evidence the virus was started at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Although this theory has not been proven, there has been increasing pressure from several states for an independent investigation to be held in the country.
The US state of Missouri has become one of the first to file a lawsuit against China over the virus.
Writing for legal publication, the Jurist, Dr Abbas Poorhashemi President and Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute for International Law Expertise explained there is no legitimate way of taking the state to court.
Neither the International Criminal Court (ICC) or International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be able to bring forward a case, while China could trigger state immunity in US courts or even veto any move from the UN Security Council to move the case to the ICC.
However, he explained China is obliged to cooperate with international law.
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He said: “Judicial action against China is not an immediate response for the pandemic crises that are affecting all of humanity in the world.
“The principle of cooperation has been considered as one of the cornerstones of international law.
“According to this principle, all states have an obligation to cooperate in such a situation collectively.
“In this context, the World Health Organization (WHO) plays an essential role in the matter.”
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Deaths from the virus have now reached 337,013 at the time of writing.
The US has the highest number of cases with 1,632,629 with a further 97,102 deaths.
Last month, the US secretary of State, Mike Pompeo stated the Chinese government had information it was still not revealing to the rest of the world.
He said: “The mere fact that we don’t know the answers that China hasn’t shared the answers I think is very, very telling.”
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In tandem, Mr Trump added: “We’re going to see where it comes from.
“We have people looking at it very, very strongly.
“Scientific people, intelligence people, and others.
“We’re going to put it all together.
“I think we will have a very good answer eventually. And China might even tell us.”
In a further worsening of relations between the two countries, the US Senate passed a bill which could block some Chinese companies from selling shares on the US stock exchange.
The new legislation would require publicly traded companies to reveal whether they are owned or controlled by a foreign government.
If approved by the House of Representatives, it would require firms to follow US standards for audits and other financial regulations.
With Beijing set to impose a new security law on Hong Kong, Mr Trump said the US would address the legislation “very strongly”.
He said: “If it happens we’ll address that issue very strongly.”
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