Image: PA Images

Donald Trump says US 'terminating' relationship with World Health Organization

Trump also said the United States will restrict Chinese students and start reversing Hong Kong’s special status in customs.


US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has said he is breaking off US ties with the World Health Organization, which he says failed to do enough to combat the initial spread of coronavirus.

Trump had already suspended funding to the UN agency, accusing it of being a “puppet” of China as the global health crisis erupted.

“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization,” Trump told reporters in the last hour. 

The Republican leader said the US would be “redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” without providing details. 

Trump also said the United States will restrict Chinese students and start reversing Hong Kong’s special status in customs and other areas as Beijing imposes a controversial security law.

Trump said the Chinese government has been “diminishing the city’s longstanding and very proud status.”

“This is a tragedy for the people of Hong Kong, the people of China, and indeed the people of the world,” he told reporters.

Reacting to Trump’s withdrawal from WHO, Minister for Health Simon Harris said it was an “awful decision”. 

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“Now more than ever the world needs multilateralism,” he said. “A global pandemic requires the world working together. If we are looking for a villain, it’s simple – but it’s not any organisation – it’s the virus – we should unite in our fight against it & not fight each other.”

Trump’s comments come after he threatened to stop looters in Minneapolis with deadly force after the US city saw a third night of arson and rioting over the police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd. 

Said Trump in a Tweet: “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”

For the first time, Twitter hid the tweet behind a warning banner that accused the president of “glorifying violence.”