AGENCIES, Beijing: It’s no secret that the US is the biggest overall donor to the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO). Its annual contribution was more than $400m in 2019, which roughly equates to 15 per cent of its budget.
At a time when the world is going through the coronavirus pandemic, a visibly annoyed US President Donald Trump has instructed his administration to temporarily halt funding to the WHO.
Trump has not only been severely critical over the WHO’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and but its growing proximity with China. China’s contribution to the WHO kitty is roughly 10% of US and according to Trump, the US was being overlooked in favour of China.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he regrets Trump’s decision to halt funding of the UN body. Trump’s decision has attracted criticism from the United Nations and partners in Europe and around the world.
Some of Trump’s officials have defended the WHO cuts, arguing that the organisation has strayed from its intended non-political nature and sas too biased toward China.
Meanwhile, China announced on Thursday that it will contribute another $30 million to the WHO to help in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“China has decided to donate another $30 million in cash to the WHO, in addition to the previous donation of $20 million, to support the global fight against COVID-19 and strengthen developing countries’ health systems,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. Shuang added that China’s contribution to the UN agency “reflects the support and trust of the Chinese government and people for the WHO”.
It’s not the first time WHO’s operations have faced scrutiny.