May 19, 2020
There are fears Britain could be dragged into a global trade war with China after Beijing slapped an 80 per cent tariff on Australian exports as punishment for demanding an independent coronavirus inquiry – which 100 nations including the UK supported.
On Monday, the World Health Organization bowed to calls from most of its member states to launch an independent probe into how it managed the international response to coronavirus, which has been clouded by finger-pointing between the US and China.
The ‘comprehensive evaluation’ over coronavirus, sought by a coalition of African, European and other countries, is intended to review ‘lessons learned’ from WHO’s coordination of the global response to the virus outbreak.
Donald Trump took the row with China further last night when he threatened to permanently cut off funding for the WHO, which he has accused of bias towards Beijing.
The president has raged at the WHO’s ‘political correctness’ and blames it for facilitating the spread of the virus with a ‘disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions from China’ in the early weeks of the outbreak.
Trump suspended US funds last month and has now threatened to quit the body altogether if it does not make ‘major substantive improvements within the next 30 days’.
‘The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China,’ Trump said in a letter to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
This article was posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 3:29 am