(The Center Square) - President Donald Trump Friday said the U.S. is terminating its partnership with the World Health Organization, saying it botched its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in China.
"We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly but they have refused to act," Trump said. 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 redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs."
Last month, Trump threatened to withhold U.S. taxpayer funding without reforms. He has been critical of WHO since February, saying it inappropriately criticized him for his early flight restrictions on air travel from China. He also said WHO has inappropriately defended China's initial response to the novel coronavirus.
U.S. taxpayers have supported WHO with $400 million to $500 million in funding annually.
"The world needs answers from China on the virus," Trump said. "We must have transparency."
Friday's announcement comes as China this week took actions to limit the independence of Hong Kong. The U.S. has been a supporter of Hong Kong's independence.