President of the United States, Donald Trump has on Friday announced the termination of his country’s relationship with the World Health Organisation, WHO.
He said that the relationship between the United States and the World Health Organization (WHO) is severed, claiming it failed to adequately respond to the coronavirus pandemic because China has “total control” over the global organisation.
Speaking from the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday, Mr Trump said Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured them into misleading the world when the virus was first discovered.
Mr Trump said the WHO had failed to make reforms to the organisation that the President had demanded in a May 18 letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
That letter had given the WHO 30 days to commit to reforms.
Recall that Trump has repeatedly threatened to eliminate American funding for the group — which amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars a year — and blamed China for the spread of the coronavirus and the economic impact it has had on the global economy.
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“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.”
Mr Trump did not provide further details of where those funds would be directed.
The US is the largest source of financial support to the WHO. Its exit is expected to significantly weaken the organisation and could have global implications on the WHO’s response to the pandemic.
The WHO did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Mr Trump’s decision, but a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “We have consistently called for all states to support WHO.”
Mr Trump has long questioned the value of the United Nations and scorned the importance of multilateralism as he focuses on an “America First” agenda.
Since taking office, he has quit the UN Human Rights Council, the UN cultural agency UNESCO, a global accord to tackle climate change and the Iran nuclear deal.
The World Health Organization is a UN specialised agency — an independent international body that works with the United Nations.