The Trump administration has circulated a draft proposal that would bring Taiwan to the table at the World Health Organization in an effort to push back against China and punish the global body for being “too China-centric,” Fox News has learned.
Further, the administration’s national security team is even considering the creation of a new global health organization – one that would have more U.S. influence – among a range of options.
The move comes after President Trump last month announced he was suspending funding for the WHO altogether, amid accusations they helped China downplay the extent of the coronavirus before it became a full-blown pandemic.
The push to hit back against China’s influence at the WHO involves “all of government,” Fox News is told.
In recent days, both the State Department and U.S. Mission to the U.N. have tweeted to decry Taiwan’s exclusion from international bodies like the WHO – using a pro-Taiwan hashtag to press for their inclusion.
“Join us to #TweetforTaiwan's inclusion at the upcoming World Health Assembly so #Taiwan can bring its incredible expertise to the fight against #Covid19. The world needs Taiwan in this fight! Tell @WHO that it is time for Taiwan to be heard,” the State Department tweeted.
The White House already has backing from Australia as part of this push to grant Taiwan observer status at the WHO, and is currently seeking support from Germany, France and the United Kingdom, Fox News is told.
A source described the move to bring Taiwan to the table at WHO as a “finger in the eye” to China, as the Chinese Communist Party does not consider Taiwan an independent country. Giving Taiwan a seat at the table in WHO would give the nation a boost, the source said.
In March, an aide to WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was asked whether the organization would consider Taiwan’s membership — a question he ignored, in an awkward video interview.
Later, a spokesperson for WHO told Fox News, "WHO’s focus at all times is to ensure that all areas of the globe have the information they need to manage the health of their people. In a recent interview, the WHO official who headed the joint international mission to China, did not answer a question on Taiwan’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
“The question of Taiwanese membership in WHO is up to WHO member states, not WHO staff,” the spokesperson continued. “However, WHO is working closely with all health authorities who are facing the current coronavirus pandemic, including Taiwanese health experts."
Trump, during a Fox News virtual town hall on Sunday, said that the organization “has been a disaster.”
“What the WHO did, they missed every single call,” Trump said Sunday while accusing the organization of passing along “wrong” information about the novel coronavirus and calling them “China-centric.”
Meanwhile, Fox News has learned that the administration’s national security team is considering a range of options for how to hold the WHO accountable, including potentially creating an alternative organization.
Sources told Fox News that over the last several weeks, the White House has instructed the State Department, USAID and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations to “look for other health organizations to divert WHO funds to.”
But national security sources told Fox News that they are also considering what an entirely new global health organization with more U.S. influence would look like.
The move comes after Trump announced last month that the United States would immediately halt funding for the health organization, saying it had put “political correctness over lifesaving measures,” noting that the U.S. would undertake a 60- to 90-day investigation into why the “China-centric” WHO had caused “so much death” by “severely mismanaging and covering up” the coronavirus spread.
The United States was the WHO's largest single donor, and the State Department had previously planned to provide the agency $893 million in the current two-year funding period. Trump said the United States contributes roughly $400 million to $500 million per year to WHO, while China offers only about $40 million.
The money saved would go to areas that "most need it," Trump asserted last month.