"China has total control over WHO despite only paying $40 million a year compared to what US has been paying which is approximately $450 million a year. Because they have failed to make requested and needed reforms, today we will be terminating our relationship with WHO," Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House. “The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency."
“We have detailed reforms that they must make and engage with them directly, but they have refused to act," Trump said Friday at the White House. The U.S. is the largest source of financial support to the WHO and its exit is expected to significantly weaken the organization. Trump said the U.S. would be “redirecting" the money to “other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs," without providing specifics.
"China's cover-up of the Wuhan virus allowed the disease to spread all over the world, instigating a global pandemic that has caused over 1,00,000 American lives and over a million lives worldwide. Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to WHO," said Trump.
Trump’s announcement on WHO came as he delivered a litany of complaints against Beijing, ranging from trade practices to legislative moves that would compromise Hong Kong’s autonomy. He had previously suspended funding to the WHO, complaining that it had been complicit with China in concealing the extent of risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in Hubei province.
Earlier this month, Trump threatened to withdraw from the WHO, sparking opprobrium from global leaders who have said the international group is more important than ever in the context of the pandemic.
In a four-page letter detailing his grievances with the organization, Trump called on the WHO to “demonstrate independence from China," renewing his complaint that led him in April to temporarily suspend U.S. funding.
Trump made the letter public hours after President Xi Jinping addressed the World Health Assembly by video link. Xi promised to devote $2 billion toward fighting the pandemic over the next two years while urging greater international cooperation to defeat the virus.
The US has historically been the health agency’s largest funder. The U.S. has given about $100 million a year to the WHO, plus anywhere from $102 million to $401 million in additional voluntary contributions, , according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
U.S. stocks erased losses and traded little changed after President Donald Trump stopped short of implementing draconian economic restrictions against China even as he blasted the country for its actions on the pandemic and in Hong Kong.
The S&P 500 looked to end May on an up note as it caps a second monthly advance. Equities turned higher after Trump announced retaliation against China by withdrawing from the World Health Organization. He said his administration will look into eliminating policies that give Hong Kong preferential treatment. The president did not institute sanctions on Chinese officials as was anticipated.
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