U.S. President Donald Trump who is in an intense confrontation with China regarding the source of COVID-19 has criticized the pro-China tendency of the World Health Organization (WHO) and given an ultimatum to permanently pull funding to the organization if it fails to “commit to major substantive improvements in the next 30 days.”
“If the World Health Organization does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization,” read the four-page letter sent by President Trump to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday.
“The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China,” the letter also said. “I cannot allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organization that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America’s interests.”
President Trump also harshly criticized the WHO as a “puppet of China” in front of correspondents. He also took an issue with the U.S. contributing 450 million dollars to the WHO while China pays 38 million dollars.
“At least one member country made a mockery of their transparency obligations, with tremendous costs for the entire world. This cannot ever happen again,” said U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in an apparent reference to China during the World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting held via videoconference for the first time on Monday.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a statement criticizing the WHO for failing to allow Taiwan to participate in the WHA due to opposition from China. Pompeo wrote that the WHO director-general did not allow Taiwan in the WHA due to pressure from China despite all the legal authorities he has to do so and that the director-general’s lack of independence has damaged the WHO’s reliability and efficiency.
National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping’s announcement during the WHA meeting to provide two billion dollars to countries heavily affected by COVID-19, saying that it is an attempt to distract a growing number of countries asking for China’s responsibility.
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