Accusing the World Health Organisation of being “totally controlled” by China, where the first case of the novel coronavirus emerged, US President Donald Trump late Friday announced the country will permanently “terminate” its relationship with the organisation and will redirect funds from the WHO to other organisations.
The US President also said he is directing his administration to begin the process of eliminating policy exemptions that give Hong Kong different and special treatment, citing the Chinese parliament’s advancement of national security legislation for Hong Kong, which democracy activists and Western countries fear could erode the city’s freedoms.
“We will be revising the State Department’s travel advisory for Hong Kong to reflect the increased danger of surveillance and punishment by the Chinese state security apparatus,” he added.
“China has total control over the WHO despite only paying $40 million a year compared to what the US has been paying which is approx $450 million a year. But the WHO has failed to make requested and needed reforms and so we will be terminating our relationship with the WHO,” he said.
Trump had suspended US contributions to the WHO last month, accusing it of promoting China’s “disinformation” about the coronavirus outbreak, although WHO officials denied the accusation and China said it was transparent and open.
Announcing actions against China for approving the proposal for new national security legislation in Hong Kong, Trump called the Chinese government’s move “the latest in a series of measures that are diminishing the city’s longstanding and very proud status. This is a tragedy for the people of Hong Kong, people of China, and indeed the people of the world,” he said.
“China has replaced its promise of one country, two systems with one country, one system,” he said.
Taking on China over the COVID outbreak, Trump accused the country of conducting “illicit espionage to steal our industrial secrets” and announced the suspension of the entry of “certain foreign nationals from China, identified as potential security risks” to “better secure our nation’s vital university research.”
The Trump administration had on Wednesday taken the significant step of saying it could no longer certify Hong Kong’s autonomy from China, which was promised before the British handed the city back in 1997. The move has triggered a range of actions by the US government, from sanctions on Chinese officials to revoke the city’s special trading status with the US.
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