China announced on Thursday that it would provide an additional $30 million to the World Health Organization after President Trump directed his administration to cut funding to the agency.
“China has decided to donate additional $30 million in cash to WHO to support its global fight against COVID-19, in particular strengthening developing countries’ health systems,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying wrote on Twitter. “China already donated $20 million in cash to WHO on March 11.”
Trump announced the U.S. funding cut on April 14, accusing the WHO of “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.” The U.S. provides about $400 million to the WHO annually, and is by far the largest contributor to the agency, covering 15 percent of its budget. By contrast, China annually contributes 0.2 percent of the budget.
U.S. officials and lawmakers have accused China of covering up the true spread of the coronavirus since it first appeared in Wuhan, and have criticized the WHO for enabling its continued spread by transmitting faulty Chinese data on the illness. Taiwan has also faulted the agency for failing to relay the country’s warnings in December that human-to-human transmission of coronavirus was possible. In mid-January the WHO still claimed, following Chinese authorities, that human-to-human transmission of the illness was not confirmed.
Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China🇨🇳. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020
China prevents the WHO from accepting Taiwan as a member state. On call with a Taiwanese journalist, WHO senior adviser Dr. Bruce Aylward appeared to hang up when asked about Taiwan’s response to the pandemic. When asked again, Aylward responded, “We’ve aready talked about China.”
She calls back & he said "Well, we've already talked about China."
— Hong Kong World City☔️🖐🏻👆🏻 (@HKWORLDCITY) March 28, 2020
China has sought to turn the coronavirus pandemic to its advantage, offering medical supplies to other nations trying to contain outbreaks. However, in many instances those supplies have turned out to be useless. In one instance, after initially pledging to donate medical supplies to Italy, China instead forced Italy to buy back the supplies it had donated to China in the earliest days of the pandemic.