Trump says U.S. terminating relationship with World Health Organization

President Donald Trump said Friday the U.S. will be terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization, as it had failed to adequately respond to the coronavirus because China has “total control” over the global organization.

He said Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the organization to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered.

He noted that the U.S. contributes about $450 million US to the world body while China provides about $40 million.

The U.S. is the largest source of financial support to the WHO and its exit is expected to significantly weaken the organization. Trump said the U.S. would be “redirecting” the money to “other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” without providing specifics.

U.S. eliminating special treatment of Hong Kong

At the same news conference, Trump said he was directing his administration to begin the process of eliminating special treatment for Hong Kong in response to China’s plans to impose new security legislation in the territory.

China’s ceremonial parliament, the National People’s Congress, endorsed a national security law for Hong Kong on Thursday. Many residents are concerned that the law will undermine civil liberties and might be used to suppress political activity. Today on Front Burner, journalist and lawyer Antony Dapiran on what this might mean for Hong Kong’s future, and whether this could signal the end of “one country, two systems” in the former British colony. 19:27

Trump said China had broken its word over Hong Kong’s autonomy. He said China’s move against Hong Kong was a tragedy for the people of Hong Kong, China and the world.

Trump’s announcement comes after China moved forward with plans to impose new national security legislation and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the territory no longer warrants special treatment under U.S. law that has enabled it to remain a global financial centre.

People protest China’s national security legislation in Hong Kong on Friday. (Kin Cheung/Associated Press)

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