The leader of the world's second-largest economy on Monday pledged $2b over two years for the coronavirus response in other countries.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was speaking during a video conference of a key World Health Organization meeting, said: "China will provide 2 billion US dollars over two years to help with Covid-19 response, and with economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing countries."

The disease emerged late last year in China and some of the Chinese companies are at the forefront of vaccine trials.

Xi was talking during the 73rd World Health Assembly, which started on May 18. The meeting which was supposed to happen in Geneva, Switzerland, is being conducted via video conference on Monday and Tuesday. During the meeting, which is being attended by 194 countries, the delegates agree upon leadership, priorities, and budget.

Xi Jinping
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Calls for Probe into China

There have been growing calls from several countries for an independent probe into the coronavirus response in China. During the meeting, Xi defended the handling of the coronavirus response and said that the country will support a "comprehensive review" by the WHO after the pandemic situation has been brought under control.

Xi said China had been transparent about the coronavirus outbreak which started in Hubei province and the response to the situation. He said the country would support any investigation which is "conducted in an objective and impartial way."

The European Union and Australia had prepared a draft resolution that was supported by 116 countries, reported Reuters. If two-thirds of the members supported the resolution then it would be moved further.

But during his opening speech on Monday, Xi did not specifically mention the resolution. He also mentioned the support that China will provide to Africa during these trying times.

The coronavirus has killed more than 4,000 people in China.