Trump Threatened to Place a Hold on WHO Funding

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The US President accused the organization of being " very biased towards China" in the context of coronavirus pandemic. US President Donald Trump has made it clear that he could “put a very powerful hold” on World Health Organization funding and criticized the UN agency accusing it of being “very biased towards China” in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. Repeating the complaints he had made the day before on Twitter the president said that WHO “was wrong about a lot of things” and accused the organization of disagreeing with his travel restriction from China. “They’ve been wrong about a lot of things,” Trump stated during the White House coronavirus working group press briefing. “It seems like they are very China-centric.” “We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO,” he added. Trump, however, backed pedal when journalists began asking clarifying questions about his statement. He said that he “intended to study the issue” of reducing WHO funding and rejected his previous statement. The United States is the largest contributor to the international organization budget. The most recent bill the United States issued to WHO was about $ 116 million per year. In addition, the United States voluntarily transfers between $ 100 and $ 400 million per year for specific WHO projects. In 2017 (this is the last year for which data are available), such contributions exceeded $ 400 million. This means that in that year, the United States transferred more than $ 500 million to WHO, which is slightly less than a quarter of the organization’s annual budget. The total budget of WHO in 2016-2017 exceeded $ 4 billion. “WHO gets a lot of money from us,” Trump drew attention. WHO appreciated China's transparency regarding the virus, although some critics say there is reason to believe that the actual number of deaths from COVID-19 is higher than official figures. Trump's main annoyance is related to a WHO statement in late January that “travel bans on affected regions or denied entry of passengers arriving from affected regions are generally ineffective in preventing the importation” of coronavirus cases and can instead lead to significant negative socio-economic consequences. The statement was made after Trump imposed a ban on the entry into the United States of travelers from countries seriously affected by the coronavirus.