US President Donald Trump has made it clear that he may go for a “very powerful suspension” of funding for the World Health Organization, criticizing the UN’s specialized agency and accusing it of being “fixated on China” in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Repeating the complaints he made a day earlier on Twitter, the President said that the WHO “was wrong in many ways.” Trump denounced the who for the fact that she spoke out against travel restrictions from China and Europe.
“They were wrong in many ways,” Trump said. “They seem to be very fixated on China.”
“We intend to suspend the payment of money that we send to WHO,” he added.
Trump, however, backed down when reporters began asking clarifying questions about his statement. He said he “intends to explore” the issue of reducing who funding and rejected his previous statement.
The United States is the largest donor to the international organization.
The most recent bill issued by WHO to the United States was about $ 116 million a year. In addition, the United States voluntarily transfers between $ 100 and $ 400 million a year to specific WHO projects. In 2017 (the last year for which data is available), such contributions exceeded $ 400 million.
This means that in that year, the United States transferred more than $ 500 million to WHO, which is just under a quarter of the organization’s annual budget. The total budget of WHO in the period of 2016-2017 years has exceeded $ 4 billion.
“WHO gets a lot of money from us,” Trump said.
WHO has praised China’s transparency on the virus; although some critics say there is reason to believe that the real number of deaths from COVID-19 exceeds official data.
Trump’s main irritation stems from the WHO’s statement in late January that “travel bans to affected regions or denial of entry to passengers arriving from affected regions are generally ineffective in preventing the importation” of coronavirus cases and can instead lead to significant negative socio-economic consequences.
The statement was made after Trump imposed a ban on travelers from countries seriously affected by the coronavirus entering the United States.