Trump Threatens To Permanently Cut Off Funding To WHO After China Pledges $2B To Help Fight Virus
American officials decried Chinese President Xi Jinping's decision to contribute $2 billion to the global efforts to contain the pandemic as an attempt by China to forestall closer scrutiny of whether it hid information about the outbreak to the world. Late on Monday, President Donald Trump released a scathing letter that laid out his grievances with both WHO and China, both popular targets for the president in recent weeks.
The New York Times:
U.S.-China Feud Over Coronavirus Erupts At World Health Assembly
A meeting of the World Health Organization that was supposed to chart a path for the world to combat the coronavirus pandemic instead on Monday turned into a showcase for the escalating tensions between China and the United States over the virus. President Xi Jinping of China announced at the start of the forum that Beijing would donate $2 billion toward fighting the coronavirus and dispatch doctors and medical supplies to Africa and other countries in the developing world. (Jacobs, Shear and Wong, 5/18)
U.S. Savages WHO As It Promises Pandemic Review, But China Pledges $2 Billion
The World Health Organization said on Monday an independent review of the global coronavirus response would begin as soon as possible and it received backing and a hefty pledge of funds from China, in the spotlight as the origin of the pandemic. But the WHO’s chief critic, the U.S. administration of President Donald Trump, decried an “apparent attempt to conceal this outbreak by at least one member state." (Nebehay and Farge, 5/18)
The Washington Post:
China's Xi Backs International Investigation Into Covid Origins, Woos Africa
For weeks China had been anticipating, and bitterly opposing, a proposal from Western countries to conduct an international probe into the pandemic’s origins. But China’s opposition has melted in recent days as international support for an inquiry grew to include Russia, Turkey and European and African countries, and as drafts of the proposed resolution showed a focus on international collaboration to manage the pandemic, with relatively limited emphasis on questioning its source. (Shih, Rauhala and Dawsey, 5/18)
Trump Threatens Permanent Freeze On WHO Funding Without 'Major' Reforms Within 30 Days
China first alerted the WHO to the presence of a cluster of atypical pneumonia in the city of Wuhan on Dec. 31, after WHO picked up reports through its Epidemic Intelligence System. But there is evidence to indicate the virus was circulating in Wuhan as early as mid-November. (Samuels, 5/18)
Trump Threatens Permanent Freeze Of WHO Funding, Review Of U.S. Membership
U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Monday to permanently halt funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) if it did not commit to improvements within 30 days, and to reconsider the membership of the United States in the body. (5/18)
The Wall Street Journal:
Trump Threatens To Permanently Cut Funding To World Health Organization
“It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world,” Mr. Trump wrote. “The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China.” Mr. Trump touted the letter on his Twitter account on Monday night. “It is self-explanatory!” he wrote. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment seeking information on the changes Mr. Trump would like to see the WHO make. (Restuccia, Lubold and Hinshaw, 5/19)
Trump: U.S. Funding Freeze To WHO Could Be Permanent
The Trump administration had also made its displeasure with the WHO known during the organization's annual meeting Monday. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that the World Health Organization “failed at its core mission,” adding that “at least one member country made a mockery of its transparency obligations," an apparent reference to China. Xi, on the other hand, expressed support for a WHO inquiry into the global pandemic response during Monday's meeting. He also supported offering global access to a Chinese-developed vaccine if the country were to successfully create one. (Choi, 5/19)
The New York Times:
Trump To Tap New Company To Make Covid-19 Drugs In The U.S.
The Trump administration will announce on Tuesday that it has signed a $354 million four-year contract with a new company in Richmond, Va., to manufacture generic medicines and pharmaceutical ingredients that are needed to treat Covid-19 but are now made overseas, mostly in India and China. The contract, awarded to Phlow Corp. by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, meshes President Trump’s “America First” economic promises with concerns that coronavirus treatments be manufactured in the United States. It may be extended for a total of $812 million over 10 years, making it one of the largest awards in the authority’s history. (Stolberg and Thomas, 5/18)
Azar Tells WHO That Its Covid-19 Response 'Cost Many Lives'
Health secretary Alex Azar on Monday publicly blasted the World Health Organization, telling its director-general that the agency’s “failure” to adequately warn the broader world about the forthcoming Covid-19 pandemic “cost many lives.” In a prepared video delivered to the World Health Assembly, the WHO’s governing body, Azar said the U.S. government would support a full review of the organization’s Covid-19 response, calling the status quo “intolerable.” (Facher, 5/18)