April 15, 2020 / 7:42 AM / 4 months ago

China urges United States to fulfil its WHO obligation

BEIJING (Reuters) - China urged the United States on Wednesday to fulfil its obligations to the World Health Organization (WHO), after U.S. President Donald Trump halted funding to the body over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Asked at a regular daily briefing whether China would step in to fill the shortfall, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was noncommittal.

“China will look into relevant issues according to the needs of the situation,” he said.

The United States is the biggest overall donor to the Geneva-based WHO, contributing more than $400 million in 2019, roughly 15% of its budget.

Zhao said the pandemic, which has infected nearly 2 million people globally, was at a critical stage and that Washington’s decision would affect all countries of the world.

(This story corrects tense in paragraph 3 quote)

Reporting by Gabriel Crossley; Writing by Se Young Lee; Editing by Alex Richardson

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