President Donald Trump says the U.S. is breaking off ties with the World Health Organization.
“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,” Trump told reporters.
He claims “China has total control over the World Health Organization.”
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“China’s cover-up of the Wuhan virus allowed the disease to spread all over the world, instigating a global pandemic that has caused more than 100,000 American lives,” Trump added.
He alleged that officials in China “ignored their reporting obligations” to the WHO when the virus was first discovered in late 2019.
For weeks, Trump has been signalling a downhill trend in the relationship between the U.S. and China over the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Americans. During an interview with Fox Business Network in mid-May, he said he was disappointed with China’s efforts to contain the virus.
“They should have never let this happen,” Trump said at the time. “So I make a great trade deal and now I say this doesn’t feel the same to me. The ink was barely dry and the plague came over. And it doesn’t feel the same to me.”
He also announced removal of preferential treatment for Hong Kong, in the wake of China’s decision to pursue national security legislation for the city — a move that democracy activists and Western nations have warned could reduce Hong Kong’s freedoms.
“China has replaced its promised formula of one country, two systems with one country, one system,” Trump said.
“Therefore I am directing my administration to begin the process of eliminating policy exemptions that gives Hong Kong different and special treatment.”