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Trump threatens to quit WHO or permanently end funding unless it stops China’s influence

President Donald J. Trump walks from the Oval Office to a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)
May 19, 2020

President Donald Trump sent a letter on Monday to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urging the organization to distance itself from China or lose the U.S. permanently.

“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,” Trump warned in the letter, which he shared to social media on Monday night.

“The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China,” Trump added.

Trump’s letter provided numerous examples of the detrimental effects of WHO’s close ties with China, which caused the organization to disregard early reports of the coronavirus, withhold communication to member nations, publish inaccurate or misleading claims about the virus, delay declaration of a public health emergency, and more.

Trump has stated repeatedly that China holds significant influence over WHO and the organization has helped hide China’s role in the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, 100 countries released a joint resolution for the upcoming World Health Assembly to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation of the coronavirus pandemic. The resolution, however, does not mention China or cast blame for the pandemic on any country.

Chinese officials have said they welcome an investigation into the pandemic by WHO, and even joined the resolution.

Australia has previously urged WHO to investigate China’s role in the pandemic’s origin.

Trump suspended U.S. funding to WHO last month, adding that the hold would be in place while WHO investigated the coronavirus pandemic’s origins and early response efforts.

The U.S. provides $400-$500 million in annual funding to WHO while China “provides just around one-tenth of the funding that the United States provides,” Trump had said.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted criticism of China’s inadequate WHO funding compared to the U.S.

“Why is it that China, for decades, and with a population much bigger than ours, is paying a tiny fraction of $’s to The World Health Organization, The United Nations and, worst of all, The World Trade Organization, where they are considered a so-called ‘developing country’ and are therefore given massive advantages over The United States, and everyone else?” he said.

“Prior to the Plague floating in from China, our Economy was blowing everybody away, the best of any country, EVER. We will be there again, and soon!” Trump added.