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June 2, 2020

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‘US is addicted to quitting groups’

CHINA said yesterday the United States was “addicted to quitting” following a US decision to leave the World Health Organization and said the withdrawal reveals a pursuit of power politics and unilateralism.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters yesterday that the international community disagreed with what he described as the selfish behavior of the United States.

“The US has become addicted to quitting groups and scrapping treaties,” said Zhao. “The WHO is an organization composed of 194 sovereign states. It cannot possibly serve only one country, and should not follow the will of the country that pays the most to it,” he added.

President Donald Trump announced on Friday the United States would cut ties with the WHO, accusing the UN agency of promoting Chinese “disinformation” about the virus. The WHO has denied Trump’s assertions.

Since taking office, Trump has questioned the value of the United Nations and scorned the importance of multilateralism as he focuses on an “America First” agenda.

He has quit the UN Human Rights Council, the UN cultural agency UNESCO, a global accord to tackle climate change, the Iran nuclear deal and opposed a UN migration pact.

Zhao said “in the face of the epidemic, any suppression or even blackmail of the WHO is a disregard of life, challenge to humanitarianism, and destruction of international cooperation.”

He said China would “play its due role as a responsible big country” and support the WHO in taking on a position of leadership in tackling the virus, calling on the international community to unite and increase political support and funding for the body.

Trump’s decision came after a pledge by Chinese President Xi Jinping to give US$2 billion to the WHO over the next two years to help combat the novel coronavirus.

The EU has urged the United States to reconsider its decision.


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