China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters that President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that the United States “has become addicted to quitting groups and scrapping treaties,” according to a Reuters report.
Trump made the decision to withdraw after Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged “to give $2 billion to the WHO over the next two years to help combat the novel coronavirus,” the outlet notes.
“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,” Trump said during a Friday news conference in the White House Rose Garden.
“The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency. Why is it that China shut off infected people from Wuhan to all other parts of China?” he continued. “It didn’t go to Beijing, it went nowhere else, but they allowed them to freely travel throughout the world, including Europe and the United States.”
The president further claimed that the WHO “failed to make the requested greatly needed reform” and the U.S. “will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.”
The WHO has denied Trump’s claim that it wilfully promoted “disinformation” about the outbreak in China. The international community has also condemned his decision to withdraw; the European Union has urged the U.S. to reconsider, saying that the participation of all members of all the WHO’s members is “very much needed.”