Washington/United Nations: The United States will end its relationship with the World Health Organization over the body’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday, accusing the U.N. agency of becoming a puppet of China.
The move to quit the Geneva-based body, which the United States formally joined in 1948, comes amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over the coronavirus outbreak. The virus first emerged in China’s Wuhan city late last year.
Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said Chinese officials “ignored their reporting obligations” to the WHO about the virus — that has killed hundreds of thousands of people globally — and pressured the agency to “mislead the world.”
“China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying which is approximately $450 million a year,” he said.
Trump’s decision follows a pledge last week by Chinese President Xi Jinping to give $2 billion to the WHO over the next two years to help combat the coronavirus. The amount almost matches the WHO’s entire annual program budget for last year.