Donald Trump on Tuesday announced halting America's funding of the WHO while a review is being conducted to assess the health agency's in "severely mismanaging and covering up" the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
China on Wednesday expressed “serious concern” over US President Donald Trump’s decision to suspend funding for the World Health Organisation and hinted at stepping up its monetary contribution to the UN health agency.
Trump on Tuesday announced halting America’s funding of the WHO while a review is being conducted to assess the health agency’s in “severely mismanaging and covering up” the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The Trump administration has accused WHO of taking side with China in the coronavirus outbreak that has brought America’s economy to a standstill. American taxpayers provide between USD 400 million and USD 500 million per year to the WHO, in contrast, China contributes roughly USD 40 million a year and even less, Trump said. “China expresses serious concern over the US announcement to halt its funding to WHO,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.
Putting up staunch defence of WHO and its Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Zhao said, “as the most authoritative and professional international organisation in global and public health security, the WHO plays an irreplaceable role in dealing with global public health crisis, especially since the outbreak of the COVID-19”.
“Led by Dr. Tedros, WHO is fulfilling its responsivity and playing a central role in coordinating international efforts which is highly recognised by the international community,” he said.
With the efforts to contain COVID-19 is at critical situation in the world, “this US decision will weaken the WHO capability and undermine international cooperation”, he said. “It will affect all countries including the US, especially those countries with fragile systems and capabilities. We urge the US to earnestly fulfill its obligations and responsibilities to support the WHO in leading the international efforts instead of doing the contrary,” Zhao said.
“China will as always support the WHO in playing important role in international public health and global anti-epidemic response,” he said.
Asked whether China will step-up funding to WHO to replace US contributions, Zhao said, “China has provided USD 20 million to WHO (to fight COVID-19) and we will study the relevant matter”, indicating that Beijing is considering to increase its contribution to the global health body.
Both China and WHO faced serious criticism over lack of transparency specially about the discovery of the coronavirus in December last year and its silent spread in Wuhan until Beijing imposed lockdown in the city on January 23.
By that time over five million people from Wuhan reported to have left for holiday destinations at home and abroad to celebrate the Chinese new year, which many allege resulted in the virus spreading worldwide.