President Donald Trump has threatened to make a freeze on funding for the World Health Organization from the United States permanent.
In the letter addressed to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and posted to the president's Twitter account Monday, Trump accuses the organization of having a lack of independence from "the People's Republic of China."
"It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world," the letter says. "The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China."
The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is believed to have originated out of Wuhan, China sometime late last year. The virus has killed more than 319,000 people around the world with about one-third of those deaths occurring in the U.S. (90,373 as of Tuesday morning).
Last month, Trump announced that he was halting funds directed to the WHO pending a review of its response to the initial coronavirus outbreak. The U.S. sends about $500 million every year to the Geneva-based organization and accounts for nearly 15% of its funding.
Experts say the WHO has no authority to force local governments to divulge medical information or allow inspectors or other personnel to visit their hospitals and labs.
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