China defends World Health Organization, criticizes Trump's decision to withdraw over coronavirus

The Trump administration decide to quit the WHO after months of saying it misled countries about coronavirus

Updated: July 8, 2020 - 8:49am

China on Wednesday defended the World Health Organization and criticized the U.S for deciding to withdraw from the group over its handling of the coronavirus.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the Trump administration’s announcement Monday to withdraw was “another demonstration of the U.S. pursuing unilateralism, withdrawing from groups and breaking contracts.”

Zhao also said the United Nation-affiliated WHO is “the most authoritative and professional international institution in the field of global public health security,” according to the Associated Press.

The U.S. departure from the organization “undermines the international anti-epidemic efforts, and in particular has a serious negative impact on developing countries in urgent need of international support,” Zhao also said.

President Trump and other world leaders have been critical of how the WHO handled the pandemic in its early stages – arguing it was slow to inform the world about the outbreak in Wuhan, China, and further suggest the group was covering for China.

The U.S. withdrawal won’t take effect until July 2012, which means the country could stay in the WHO if Democrat Joe Biden becomes president in November. Biden has said he would keep the WHO, amid Trump’s vows in recent months to leave.

The U.S. is WHO’s largest donor and provides it with more than $450 million per year, but owes about $200 million in current and past dues. Those financial obligations must be met before a U.S. withdrawal can be finalized, the wire service also reports.

 

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