On Friday, US President Donald Trump announced that the USA will cut off ties with the World Health Organisation (WHO), besides imposing sanctions on China. The unprecedented decision came at the backdrop of China’s mishandling of the Coronavirus outbreak and endangering the lives of millions of people.
In an official statement made during a press conference, Trump emphasised on how China had a free run in the US during the tenure of the former administration. Accusing China of misconduct, he said, “They raided our factories, offshored our jobs, cut out our industries, stole our intellectual property, and violated the commitment under the World Trade Organisation (WTO).”
Trump alleged that China reaped benefits under the tag of a ‘developing nation’ and their exploitation of the United States went unabated due to former politicians and Presidents. Praising his administration, the US President said that he dealt with China under a ‘fair and recirprocable treatment.’
Again attacking China for spreading the Novel Coronavirus across the world, the US president said, “China’s cover-up of the Wuhan virus allowed the disease to spread all over the world, instigating a global pandemic.” He called the virus as ‘Wuhan virus’ after he had earlier called it Chinese virus but then had stopped calling it that.
Change in policy towards Hong Kong
Accusing China of expansionism, Donald Trump reiterated that the Communist-run country had unlawfully claimed foreign territory as its own in the Pacific Ocean and has thus undermined ‘freedom of navigation and international trade.’ The US President further added that it failed to uphold the autonomy of Hong Kong.
“The United States wants an open and constructive relationship with China but achieving that relationship requires us to vigorously defend our national interest,” he said. Trump further stated that China unilaterally imposed control over Hong Kong in the last week under the garb of national security. He added that China tried to diminish the status, freedom, and prosperity of the city, in grave violation of its pact with the United Kingdom. Condemning the move by the Communist Government, Trump said that the security control of HongKong was a part of the ‘invasive state security apparatus’ of China.
“China has replaced its one country and two systems with one country and one system”, he said. As such, Hong Kong cannot seek special treatment that has meted out to it ever since the handover by the Brits. The Trump administration will now revoke policies, ranging from export controls to the extradition treaties. Furthermore, the travel advisory for Hong Kong will now be revised by the State Department due to increased surveillance by the Chinese State apparatus.
Trump highlighted that his administration will sanction PRC on Hong Kong officials who are directly or indirectly involved in eroding the autonomy of Hong Kong. “Our actions will be strong. Our actions will be meaningful,” he reiterated. The US President said that the world saw hope in Hong Kong and a glimpse of China’s future in the city. However, according to Trump, countries did not hope that Hong Kong would go on to become a reflection of the dictatorial Chinese regime.
Donald Trump vows disassociation from WHO
Donald Trump minced no words while blaming the Chinese Government for mishandling of the Coronavirus pandemic and risking the lives of millions of people. He emphasised that the cover-up of the disease had catapulted a global epidemic so much so that 1 lakh people lost their lives in the US alone. “Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organisation and pressured it to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities”, Trump was quoted as saying.
He alleged that China had ‘total control’ over the WHO, despite paying a paltry sum of $40 million per year. Trump also stressed on how the US paid the UN body a whopping $450 million for the said period. “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and will be redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent public health needs,” he said.
Donald Trump takes action against China
Emphasising the need for transparency, Trump asked why China had shut down the movement of people from Wuhan to other parts of China but not to the entire world, including Europe and the US. He lambasted the Chinese authorities for death, destruction and highlighted the significance of economic independence, scientific advancement, and rebuilding crucial supply chains.
He had informed that he would sign an executive order and prevent the entry of ‘some foreign nationals’ from China whom the State Department had deemed to be a potential threat to US security. He further alleged that Chinese authorities were complicit in espionage and intellectual theft. With the goal of protecting American investors, Trump had further directed the Financial markets and his team to take cognisance of the practices of Chinese Companies listed on US financial markets. “They do not play by the same rules. Americans are entitled to fairness and transparency,” he reiterated.