WHO chief 'politicising' COVID-19 pandemic, siding with China: Trump

PTI
Washington, United States Published: Apr 09, 2020, 11:10 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

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Trump slammed the Geneva-based global health agency for its early guidance aimed at countering the international spread of the coronavirus.

US President Donald Trump has fired a fresh salvo at the World Health Organization, accusing its chief of siding with China and "politicising" the coronavirus pandemic while repeating his threat to freeze the UN agency's funding.

Trump's allegation comes a day after the US President threatened to put a "very powerful" hold on US' funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) and criticised it for having "missed the call" in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also read: UN chief defends WHO after Trump coronavirus jibe

Trump slammed the Geneva-based global health agency for its early guidance aimed at countering the international spread of the coronavirus.

The president's fresh allegation comes after WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cautioned against politicisation of COVID-19 and said that such a move will only result in "many more body bags".

Also read: Over 4 lakh infected with coronavirus in US: Report

"If you want to be exploited and if you want to have many more body bags, then you [politicize the virus]. If you don't want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it," Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.

Hours later at the White House conference, Trump agreed that the COVID-19 should not be politicised, but alleged that the WHO chief was doing exactly that and was siding with China.

Also read: World Health Organisation urges coronavirus unity after Trump attack

"When he (Ghebreyesus) says politicizing, he's politicizing. That shouldn't be. We spend USD 450 million last year, hundreds of millions in previous years. And they got to do better than that. They got to do better. When you talk about politics, I can't believe he's talking about politics look at the relationship they have to China," Trump said in response to a question.

"China spends USD 42 million. We spend USD 450 million and everything seems to be China's way. That's not right. It's not fair to us. And honestly, it's not fair to the world," he said.

The United States is reevaluating its funding with respect to the WHO, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters at the White House.

"This is very consistent with what President Trump said since the beginning of his campaign. Organizations have to work," he added.

"They have to deliver the outcomes for which they were intended and we need to make sure that only the WHO but every international organization that we take taxpayer money and give it to them for the benefit of America we need to make sure it is delivering on this taxpayer dollars. The WHO is no different in that respect," the top American diplomat said.

Trump asserted that the WHO had to get its priority right. "I think they have to get their priorities right and their priorities are that everybody has to be treated properly, every country. And it doesn't seem that way, he said.

"It doesn't seem that way so we are going to do study investigation and we are going to make a determination as to what we are doing. In the meantime, we are holding back, we are going very unfair to the United States USD 452 million compared to USD 42 million that is to the World Health Organization. That is not good, that is not good, not fair," he said.

"Not fair at all and other countries as you know also gave very substantially less than the United States and the world WHO got it wrong. I mean they got it very wrong, in many ways they were wrong. They also minimised the threat very strongly and not good," Trump said.

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