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  • Headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland, April 2020.

    Headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland, April 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 15 April 2020
Opinion

The suspension of U.S. funding weakens the World Health Organization's capacities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

China expressed "serious concern" over the U.S. government's decision to suspend its financial contributions to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Trump Halts US Funding to WHO

"We call on the United States to fulfill its responsibilities and obligations and to support WHO's leadership in the international campaign against the pandemic," China's Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday.​​​

The Chinese government emphasized that the suspension of U.S. funding "will weaken the WHO's capacity and undermine international cooperation" in the fight against the disease.

"This will affect countries around the world, including the United States, and especially those countries with weaker health capabilities," Zhao warned.

He confirmed that his country will continue to play an important role in the promotion of international public health

However, Zhao did not clarify whether China will provide additional funds to fill the gaps left by the U.S., which has been the WHO main donor with contributions of up to US$500 million.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump ordered to freeze the funds contributed by his country to the WHO, an institution of the United Nations system that he has repeatedly criticized.

In his opinion, the United States has serious doubts about the proper use of its financial contributions because the WHO initially opposed the closure of borders, granted "privileged" treatment to China, and minimized the importance of the outbreak.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said that WHO’s role in responding to this global health crisis is irreplaceable and that the institution has “actively fulfilled its responsibilities” since the start of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak.

“The WHO... has played a central coordinating role in promoting international cooperation against the epidemic, and has been recognized and highly praised by the international community,” Zhao defended.

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