29 May, 2020 by Niamh Harris
President Trump has announced that the US is “terminating its relationship” with the World Health Organization.
Speaking in the Rose Garden at the White House on Friday, the US president accused the WHO of misleading the world after being put under pressure from China, which he blames for coronavirus.
He said he will now redirect funds into other organisations.
“We will today be terminating our relationship with the WHO,” Trump announced during the press conference.
RT reports: He said that the WHO was “pressured” by China to mislead the world about the novel coronavirus, hampering the US and global response and resulting in over a million deaths worldwide – including more than 100,000 Americans.
As one example, Trump listed the WHO advice against banning travel earlier this year, and criticism of his decision to halt incoming flights from China. Almost every country eventually stopped air travel, in addition to Chinese-style lockdown tactics intended to slow the spread of the respiratory disease.
“The world is now suffering as the result of malfeasance of the Chinese government,” Trump added.
Trump had sent a letter to WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus two weeks ago, demanding that the agency “clean up its act” and giving it 30 days to do so. He accused the body of “inaccurate and misleading” statements about the coronavirus, and doing Beijing’s bidding.
“The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China… we do not have time to waste,” he wrote.
Friday’s announcement comes 20 days after that letter, ahead of the self-imposed deadline.
As part of the dispute with the WHO, Trump had suspended US funding to WHO back in April. WHO’s own numbers showed that the US had given $893 million – between member dues and voluntary contributions – to its budget in 2018-19, compared to $86 million coming from China.
The WHO responded to Trump’s funding stop by pledging an “independent review” that will “no doubt” show “areas for improvement” and “lessons for all of us to learn,” but said the US decision was regrettable and creating “cracks between us” that can be exploited by the virus.