President Donald Trump said the U.S. will terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization, which he has accused of being under Chinese control and failing to provide accurate information about the spread of coronavirus.
“We have detailed reforms that they must make and engage with them directly, but they have refused to act,” Trump said today at the White House. “We will be today terminating our relationship with the WHO.”
Trump’s announcement came as he delivered a litany of complaints against Beijing, ranging from trade practices to legislative moves that would compromise Hong Kong’s autonomy. He had previously suspended funding to the WHO, complaining that it had been complicit with China in concealing the extent of risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in Hubei province.
Earlier this month, Trump threatened to withdraw from the WHO, sparking opprobrium from global leaders who have said the international group is more important than ever in the context of the pandemic.
In a four-page letter detailing his grievances with the organization, Trump called on the WHO to “demonstrate independence from China,” renewing his complaint that led him in April to temporarily suspend U.S. funding.
Trump made the letter public hours after President Xi Jinping addressed the World Health Assembly by video link. Xi promised to devote $2 billion toward fighting the pandemic over the next two years while urging greater international cooperation to defeat the virus.
The U.S. has historically been the health agency’s largest funder. The U.S. has given about $100 million a year to the WHO, plus anywhere from $102 million to $401 million in additional voluntary contributions, , according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.