Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying is seen during a regular news conference in Beijing on Jan 19, 2021. [Photo/fmprc.gov.cn] China defended on Tuesday its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it will continue to communicate and cooperate with the World Health Organization in curbing the virus. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the remark after an independent panel for pandemic preparedness and response said that China could have applied public health measures more forcefully in January to curb the initial COVID-19 outbreak, and criticized the WHO for not declaring an international emergency until Jan 30. Hua said at the regular news briefing that while "we should, of course, strive to do better," that did not mean China's response had been inadequate. China has taken decisive measures in early detection, reporting, isolation and treatment of infected patients, and those efforts have reduced the number of deaths and infections, Hua said. The achievements have been recognized by scientists and medical experts around the globe, she added. Every country, not only China, should strive to better deal with public health crises, Hua said. She cited the information analyzed by the panel as saying the reality is that only a minority of countries took full advantage of the information available to them to respond to the evidence of an emerging epidemic. The report came as an international expert team of the WHO arrived in China last week to conduct joint scientific research with Chinese scientists on origin-tracing of the coronavirus. China supports the leadership of the WHO in the fight against the pandemic, and hopes other countries will provide the same support and assistance to the organization, she said. "We firmly oppose politicizing the issue of origin-tracing of the coronavirus, as it is detrimental to international joint cooperation in pandemic response," she said.