China criticized America's withdrawal from the World Health Organization Wednesday morning and defended its own contributions to the international agency.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, accused the United States of "pursuing unilateralism, withdrawing from groups and breaking contracts" after the Trump administration announced Tuesday it would withdraw from the WHO. Zhao added that Beijing sees the WHO as "the most authoritative and professional international institution in the field of global public health security."
The United States' withdrawal came amid widespread criticism of outsized Chinese influence in the WHO. Earlier this month, the organization was forced to walk back its claim that China reported the coronavirus in late 2019. WHO officials had publicly praised the regime's coronavirus response even as they acknowledged behind closed doors that Beijing refused to share information about the disease. The coronavirus has now killed 130,000 Americans.
"The WHO and the Chinese Communist Party … are finally admitting to the world the truth—the CCP never reported the virus outbreak to the WHO in violation of WHO regulation," Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Tex.), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon last week.
The WHO has also drawn criticism for not allowing Taiwan to join the organization as a member. One official claimed to not hear a journalist's question about Taiwan properly and then referred to the query as a "question about China."
China has expanded its international influence during the pandemic. The country sent protective equipment for economic and political leverage in Latin America and Africa. It also expanded aid efforts into Europe, selling thousands of faulty coronavirus test kits to Spain and the Czech Republic, the Free Beacon reported in March.
The United States’ withdrawal from the WHO will become official next year—after the 2020 election. Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden has promised a return to the WHO if elected.