No more cooperation with the supposedly China-affiliated WHO, no more trade advantages for Hong Kong and fewer visas for Chinese students
WASHINGTON / BRUSSELS / HONG KONG | US President Donald Trump has further tightened regulations with China, which are already burdened by trade disputes and other issues.
Trump said the cooperation and funding of the World Health Organization would end because the UN organization had been influenced by Beijing, he announced on Friday. Hong Kong would lose trade advantages because a so-called Chinese security law would reduce civil rights and democracy in what was once the British crown colony and Chinese students would no longer be issued visas if they were suspected of being part of a government campaign to acquire knowledge of trade and research for China’s military and economic development.
The WHO has let China use it to minimize the danger of the SAR COV-2 coronavirus at the beginning of the pandemic, Trump said. Beijing ignored its reporting obligations to WHO and misled the public about the scale of the Wuhan outbreak, which became a pandemic and resulted in the deaths of more than 100,000 people in the United States alone.
Trump said the U.S. paid approximately $ 450 million to the WHO, but China only paid about $ 40 million. His country would spend the previous contribution on other urgent health tasks worldwide that deserved this.
The opposition Democrats had already declared when Trump threatened to end cooperation with the WHO in April that that would not have any legal status without the involvement of Congress. The head of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, described Trump’s actions on Friday as “an act of extraordinary senselessness”.
EU warns of break with World Health Organization
Meanwhile, EU Commission chief Ursula von Leyen has asked US President Donald Trump to rethink the announced break from the World Health Organization (WHO) as only global cooperation and solidarity can help in the fight against the corona virus, said von der Leyen on Saturday together with the EU foreign policy representative Josep Borrell.
“WHO must continue to be able to lead the international response to current and future pandemics,” said a joint statement. This requires the participation and support of everyone. “Anything that weakens international results must be avoided. In this context, we urge the US to reconsider its announced decision. “
Von Leyen and Borrell wrote that the European Union continued to support WHO in the fight against the pandemic and had already pledged additional funds. On May 19, all WHO member states had decided to launch an impartial, independent and comprehensive assessment as soon as possible and to learn from the international response to the corona virus.
Hong Kong government denies loss of autonomy
Trump said to Hong Kong that his government would begin to remove the “whole range” of agreements that give Hong Kong a special position compared to the Chinese mainland. The State Department would issue a warning to US citizens that they could be monitored or arrested when they visit Hong Kong.
The Chinese People’s Congress had approved an internal security law that could severely restrict opposition political activities and civil society in Hong Kong . Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an assessment for Congress on Wednesday that the law is undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms.
Hong Kong’s government criticized US action on Saturday and Teresa Cheng described it as “unacceptable”. The introduction of a national security law does not mean the end of the “one country, two systems” principle.
“It is claimed that we are now” one country, one system “and have lost our autonomy,” said Cheng: “This is completely wrong.” National security is also a matter for the central government in every other country in the world.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AmCham) was disappointed with Trump’s announcement.
It is a “sad day,” said AmCham President Tara Joseph: “This is an emotional moment for Americans in Hong Kong and it will take a while for businesses and families to digest the consequences.”
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