President Donald Trump announced Friday that the U.S. will no longer work with the World Health Organization (WHO), following his assessment that China has “total control” over the U.N. based health organization.
Trump announced the decision at a White House press conference. He noted his administration had called on the WHO to reform its ties with China, but assessed Friday that they had not met his administration’s demands on that matter.
“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 said.
Trump also criticized the WHO, providing his assessment that they did not adequately respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“The world needs answers from China on the virus,” Trump said.
Trump went on to call China deceitful for and said they had abused their World Trade Organization status as a ‘developing nation’ to gather economic benefits that other countries are not entitled. He said China has also been stealing intellectual property and technological advancements during this same period and called for a return of critical supply chains to the U.S.
Trump also announced the U.S. would be rolling back special economic treatment for the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong, which China has sought to increasingly control with proposals for new security legislation in recent days.
“China has replaced the 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 give Hong Kong different and special treatment.”
Trump said the decision would affect the full range of agreements currently in place between Hong Kong and the U.S., with some exceptions.
“We will be revising the State Department’s travel advisory for Hong Kong to reflect the increased danger of surveillance and punishment by the Chinese state security apparatus,” Trump said.
Trump’s announcement on Hong Kong followed U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement Wednesday that the U.S. had officially decertified Hong Kong’s autonomous status, as Chinese lawmakers approved plans to impose law enforcement control from the mainland over the city. Members of the Trump administration had indicated changes to Hong Kong’s economic status would likely follow.
Trump’s announcement on terminating the U.S. relations with the WHO comes more than a week after he submitted a four page letter to the international health organization, in which he laid out a timeline of critical reporting delays by the organization as the coronavirus began to spread around the world.