Trump says WHO is China's Puppet. Xi says it saves lives
At the annual meeting of the UN health body, the US president asked for "substantial improvements" within 30 days. Moon Jae-in is requesting more powers from the WHO so that countries are forced to report the presence of epidemics and effectively share data. Xi Jinping promises to allocate $ 2 billion over two years to help developing countries fight coronavirus. He maintains China has been "transparent". Entry of Taiwan as an observer postponed.
Geneva (AsiaNews) – At the annual World Health Organization (WHO) assembly, the first in video-conference, the US President Donald Trump launched himself against the UN body terming it "a puppet of China,” or “China-centric". The accusations refer to the way in which the WHO has acted in the crisis of the pandemic, delaying – in accordance with Beijing's wishes – raising the alarm over the human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus and as a result, and ways in which to deal with it.
The coronavirus epidemic, which started in Wuhan and was reported more than a month later, has spread worldwide, infecting over 4.8 million people and causing 316,000 deaths so far.
Trump also threatened to permanently freeze US funds from the WHO and quit the body if director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus does not offer "substantial improvements" within 30 days, including an independent investigation into the origin of the pandemic. In a tweet Tramp also showed the official letter sent to Tedros.
An independent investigation is also being requested by other countries - the European Union, Australia, Japan, Great Britain, South Korea. These countries also suspect China's inference in the WHO decisions, but do not go so far as to want to cut the funds. The US currently pays US $ 400 million a year; China 70.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has asked for ways to strengthen the WHO's legal power to ensure that countries are forced to report outbreaks and effectively share data.
It is known, for example, that a WHO visit to China took place in the second half of January, just before the alarm, but the Chinese authorities did not allow representatives of the UN body to visit Wuhan, the epicenter of the pandemic.
The attack launched by the US on the WHO has been going on for weeks. According to Chinese diplomats, it has "political reasons" - publicity for Trump's reelection - and is a way to divert public attention from the "bankrupt" way in which the US government is managing the pandemic crisis. The United States is the country that has the most infections and the most deaths: almost 90 thousand.
Until now, the WHO director had always defended himself against US accusations by saying that they were "politicized". Yesterday, Tedros admitted that there were mistakes and promised that he will start "an independent evaluation in the shortest possible time".
So far Beijing has always refused an independent investigation into the origin of the virus. Chinese President Xi Jinping, speaking yesterday, did not mention this aspect, for the first time defended the country’s handling of the outbreak. China “acted with openness, transparency and responsibility” and “provided information to WHO and relevant countries in a most timely fashion," he claimed.
For Xi, supporting the WHO "is to support international cooperation and the battle to save lives." He promised to allocate $ 2 billion over two years to help developing countries fight coronavirus and said that China would fund global research into the sources and transmissions of viruses and that his country will consider the vaccine that is being sought for a public good, to be made available to everyone.
President Xi also called for more support for African countries in the fight against Covid-19. In recent weeks, several African countries have come out against China for its racism in dealing with African immigrants.
Yesterday, several member countries decided to postpone the discussion on granting access to the WHO as an observer, held back by China, to another time, perhaps at the end of the year. In the previous days, many countries supported its candidacy. According to Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, excluding Taiwan "further damages" the WHO's credibility.