China says US ‘addicted to quitting’ after Trump pulls out of WHO

Donald Trump has claimed that the WHO helped China cover up the Covid-19 outbreak in its early stages

Matt Mathers
Monday 01 June 2020 10:36
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Donald Trump says US is terminating relationship with World Health Organisation

A Chinese official has said the US is “addicted to quitting”, following Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Zhao​ Lijian​, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, accused Washington of playing power games after it withdrew from the WHO - despite calls from the international community for the US to remain in the organisation.

Mr Lijian told reporters during a daily briefing on Monday that the international community disagreed with what he said was the selfish behaviour of the United States.

As tensions between the two countries continue to build, Mr Lijian said US attempts to harm Chinese interests would be met with firm action, adding that Beijing would defend its security and development interests resolutely.

In recent weeks, Mr Trump has claimed that the WHO is a “puppet of China” and that the organisation helped Chinese officials cover up the outbreak of Covid-19.

On Friday, he announced that the US would revoke its membership of the health body, and has since threatened to deny it funding.

“The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government,” said Trump when making the announcement. “Countless lives have been taken, and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe.”

The latest escalation in rhetoric comes after Trump announced that the US would end special trading arrangements with Hong Kong after China imposed controversial new national security laws on the territory.

The new laws make it an offence to “disrespect” the anthem of the People’s Republic of China in Hong Kong. The anthem must also be sung at schools and in organisations.

The legislation also includes provisions that prohibit “splittism, subversion, terrorism, any behaviour that gravely threatens national security and foreign interference”.

Critics have said the new laws pose a fundamental threat to personal freedoms in Hong Kong, while Trump described the move as a “tragedy”.

“China has replaced One Country, Two Systems with One Country, One System”, he told reporters in the White House’s Rose Garden, in a prepared statement that attacked China on several fronts.

“This is a tragedy for Hong Kong... China has smothered Hong Kong’s freedom.”

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