President Donald Trump threatened to permanently cut US funding to the World Health Organization unless it commits to “major substantive improvements in the next 30 days,” CNN reports.
"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," Trump said in a letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
"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," Trump said, adding that the administration would "reconsider our membership" unless unspecified improvements were made.
US-China feud erupts at WHO event:
Tensions between the US and China escalated as Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that the country would donate $2 billion to the WHO to fight the coronavirus.
The funding is twice the rate that US was giving the WHO before Trump cut off funding last month.
Trump administration officials accused China of trying to influence the WHO with its donation. The WHO is under pressure to investigate whether it was complicit in China’s attempts to hide facts about the early outbreak in Wuhan.
China’s “commitment of $2 billion is a token to distract from calls from a growing number of nations demanding accountability for the Chinese government’s failure to meet its obligations under international health regulations to tell the truth and warn the world of what was coming,” the White House National Security Council said. “As the source of the outbreak, China has a special responsibility to pay more and to give more.”
WHO to review “lessons learned”:
Tedros said the WHO would review “lessons learned” from its coronavirus response but did not directly address Trump’s allegations.
“In recent weeks, Chinese leaders and citizens have become increasingly aware of the international criticism and open hostility over China’s initial handling of the outbreak,” The New York Times reported. “Top American officials have been scathing, but European leaders have also spoken of mysteries surrounding the outbreak in China that needed to be addressed.”