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U.S. announces formal withdrawal from World Health Organization
Updated: 2020-07-08 17:10:56 KST
It was always a matter of when, not if.
The Trump Administration has gone ahead and formally withdrawn the U.S. from the World Health Organization.
Confirming the decision, the U.S. State Department said the administration on Tuesday notified the United Nations,which is the depository for the WHO, of its formal withdrawal.
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez also tweeted Tuesday that U.S. Congress received notification from President Trump about the news.
This decision was not out of the blue.
In May, President Trump expressed his intent to pull the U.S. out of the WHO, blasting the institution as a tool for the Chinese government and in the pocket of Beijing.
This was after the U.S. launched an investigation to identify the origin of COVID-19 and President Trump accused China for being responsible for the pandemic.
Being the WHO's largest single contributor, the withdrawal of the U.S. could deal a massive financial blow to the organization.
In 2019, the U.S. contributed around 400 million U.S. dollars, accounting for around 15 percent of the WHO's total budget last year.
However, whether this decision comes to fruition remains to be seenas it has been criticized by congressional lawmakers - even Republicans.
Earlier this month, House Republicans urged President Trump to change his mind, saying the U.S. could do more in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic if it stays within the WHO.
Since the U.S. is the world's worst-affected country with more than three million COVID-19 cases, there's a possibility the move could face barriers during the year-long withdrawal process.
Experts say a lot hinges on whether President Trump wins reelection in November and if the idea draws greater support from Congress.
Until then, the decision could be reversed.
President Trump's opponent in the election, former Vice President Joe Biden, says he will return the U.S. to the WHO if he wins in November.
Kim Sung-min, Arirang News.
Reporter : smkim@arirang.com