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President Trump’s letter of warning to the World Health Organization (WHO) was met with dismissal from member states during the WHO Tuesday, as nations remained loyal to the organization rather than back the U.S.
In a letter to Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus earlier this week, Trump outlined how he believes the WHO failed in its response to the coronavirus and noted an “alarming lack of independence from the People’s Republic of China.”
Trump also called for “substantive improvements within the next 30 days” or the United States will expand the temporary freeze it placed on its WHO funding and “reconsider our membership in the organization.”
Trump did not expand on the exact improvements he wanted to see in order to forego the financial freeze.
European Union (EU) diplomats pushed back against Trump’s statements and advised support for the WHO during this time.
“This is the time for solidarity,” said the European Commission’s spokeswoman, Virginie Battu-Henriksson. “It is not the time for finger-pointing or undermining multilateral cooperation.
And French President Emmanuel Macron said: "Only if we join forces will we beat this COVID-19 pandemic. We need a strong WHO and WHO is us: Member States."
The WHO’s assembly passed a resolution Tuesday -- put forward by Keva Bain, the assembly’s president and ambassador to the Bahamas -- which called for an independent review of the international response to the coronavirus pandemic, "including, but not limited to, WHO's performance."
“I thank Member States for adopting the resolution, which calls for an independent and comprehensive evaluation of the international response,” Tedros said in his closing remarks Tuesday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping supported the independent review and said: “China will provide US$ 2 billion over 2 years to help with COVID-19 response, and with economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing countries.”
Prior to the financial freeze Trump placed on the WHO, the US was the largest contributor to the international organization.
In response to Trump’s attacks on China, Zhao Lijian, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, said that Trump should “stop pinning the blame on others and enhance international cooperation to defeat the virus together.”
“The U.S. arbitrary suspension of funds and contributions to an international organization is a unilateral act that violates its international obligation,” Zhao said Tuesday.
Trump has not said whether or not the U.S. supports the independent review passed by the World Health Assembly, according to Reuters, but told reporters Tuesday: “They have to clean up their act. They have to do a better job. They have to be much more fair to other countries, including the United States, or we’re not going to be involved with them anymore."