Yesterday, speaking from the Rose Garden, President Trump made stunning announcements about his administration’s plans to “punish” China and severe ties to the World Health Organization, a U.N. agency that has been rife with scandal even before the COVID outbreak.
President Trump on Friday announced that the United States was terminating its relationship the World Health Organization (WHO) and launched a wide-ranging economic and security effort to punish China in the wake of the China-originated coronavirus pandemic.
Trump said Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the WHO and accused China of pressuring the WHO to suppress reporting accurate coronavirus information. Because the WHO had failed to make any requested changes in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, Trump said the United States would be severing its relationship with the WHO and redirecting those funds toward other global health organizations.
Trump said the United States would also punish China for what the president said was unfair trade practices and for violating its governance agreement with Hong Kong.
“Americans are entitled to fairness and transparency,” Trump said in a Rose Garden press conference. “China’s pattern of misconduct is well known.” The president also said he’s seeking “fair and reciprocal treatment” from China.
Trump criticized the Chinese communist government’s recent restrictions on Hong Kong’s self-governance provisions agreed to by the Chinese government in order for the United Kingdom to withdraw from Hong Kong in 1997.
“Hong Kong was secure and prosperous as a free society,” Trump said, accusing China of “degrading” Hong Kong’s freedoms, violating its “one country, two systems” 27 years earlier than promised to the United Kingdom. Trump said that the United States would revoke commercial and traveling benefits currently in place for Hong Kong due to Chinese actions.
Trump said the United States was also seeking to protect its university system from undue Chinese influence and that he would suspend the entry of certain foreign Chinese nationals who have been marked as security risks.
Trump criticized China for practices at the World Trade Organization, accusing China of “theft” allowed by past developed nations’ willingness to sign trade agreements that Trump said heavily benefited China.
The president said that Chinese officials failed to report details of the coronavirus properly to the World Health Organization (WHO) and pressured the organization to mislead the world about the its dangers.
“Countless lives have been taken and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe,” he said.
Trump said that the WHO failed to act on reforms that the United States had demanded, prompting his decision to end America’s role with the organization.
“We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engage with them directly, but they have refused to act,” he said.
Trump said that the United States would use the hundreds of millions previously sent to the WHO to other international aid programs.
“The world needs answers from China on the virus,” Trump says. “We must have transparency.”
He noted that Chinese officials shut off people from leaving Wuhan during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic to other parts of China but allowed them to travel the world and spread the virus.
“The death and destruction caused by this are incalculable,” Trump said. “We must have answers, not just for us, but the rest of the world.”