President Donald Trump said the U.S. will terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization, which he has accused of being too deferential to China and of failing to provide accurate information about the spread of the coronavirus.
“We have detailed reforms that they must make and engage with them directly, but they have refused to act,” Trump said on Friday at the White House. “We will be today terminating our relationship with the WHO.”
Trump’s announcement came as he delivered complaints against the government in Beijing, ranging from trade wars to legislative moves that would compromise Hong Kong’s autonomy. He had previously suspended funding to the WHO, stating that it had been complicit with Beijing in concealing the extent of risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in Hubei.
It wasn’t immediately clear how President Trump intended to execute his promise or how quickly the U.S. could really withdraw from the treaty it signed to join the public health organization, which is part of the United Nations. The president’s statement, in the short term, could mean that his earlier decision to freeze U.S. funding to the WHO may continue indefinitely.