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China says ‘seriously concerned’ by US freeze of WHO funds

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 09, 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a daily press briefing on COVID-19 virus at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. – US President Donald Trump announced on April 14, 2020, a suspension of US funding to the World Health Organization because he said it had covered up the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak in China before it spread around the world. Trump told a press conference he was instructing his administration to halt funding while “a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.” (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

China said Wednesday it was “seriously concerned” about the US decision to suspend funding for the World Health Organization, and urged Washington to fulfil its obligations during the coronavirus crisis.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused the Geneva-based body of putting political correctness above life-saving measures as he ordered the funding freeze for “mismanaging” the pandemic.

“China is seriously concerned about the US announcement to suspend funding for the World Health Organization,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular press briefing.

“The current global epidemic situation is grim. It is at a critical moment. This US decision will weaken the WHO’s capacities and undermine international cooperation against the epidemic.”

The US and China have been sparring over the deadly virus, which was first reported in China and has killed more than 125,000 worldwide.

Trump’s latest decision reflects his belief that the WHO has been biased towards China, colluding to prevent the US’ main economic rival from having to be open about the unfolding health crisis.

“We urge the United States to earnestly fulfil their responsibilities and obligations, and support the WHO-led international action against the epidemic,” Zhao said, adding that the agency plays an “irreplaceable role” against the pandemic.


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