Trump threatens to cut WHO funding branding it 'puppet of China'

19 May 2020, 06:54 | Updated: 19 May 2020, 09:35

Mr Trump said unless WHO committed to "substantive improvements over the next 30 days" he would make his temporary suspension of US funding permanent
Mr Trump said unless WHO committed to "substantive improvements over the next 30 days" he would make his temporary suspension of US funding permanent. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

President Donald Trump has threatened to put the US out of the World Health Organisation and slash funding calling it a "puppet of China"

The President threatened to permanently pull US funding from the WHO if it does not "commit to major substantive improvements in the next 30 days."

Earlier on Monday, he attacked the WHO as a "puppet of China" over its handling of the coronavirus crisis. The president froze US funding for the WHO in April.

In a four-page letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, President Trump said, "It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world. The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China.

"My administration has already started discussions with you on how to reform the organization. But action is needed quickly. We do not have time to waste."

The threat from the President comes as more than 90,000 Americans have died with coronavirus and the Trump administration has come in for criticism over its handling of the pandemic.

The message from the President also accuses the WHO of being “curiously insistent on praising China for its ‘transparency'” and failing to call on Beijing to allow for an independent investigation into the origins of Covid-19.

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The letter, on official White House paper, hits out at the WHO's stance toward China during the coronavirus pandemic and lists a series of allegations that the organization overlooked warning signs.

"I cannot allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organization that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America's interests," the President wrote.

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Trump specifically criticized the WHO for "political gamesmanship" for praising China's strict domestic travel restrictions while being "inexplicably against my closing of the United States border."

The United States has historically been the biggest donor to the WHO, contributing over US$400 million in 2019 — roughly 15 per cent of the organization’s budget for the fiscal year.

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