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China says U.S. ‘addicted to quitting’ over plan to withdraw from WHO

FILE PHOTO: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian attends a news conference in Beijing, China April 8, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Monday the United States was “addicted to quitting” following a U.S. decision to leave the World Health Organization (WHO) and said the withdrawal reveals a pursuit of power politics and unilateralism.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters during a daily briefing that the international community disagreed with what he described as the selfish behaviour of the United States.

“The U.S. has become addicted to quitting groups and scrapping treaties,” said Zhao.

President Donald Trump announced on Friday the United States would cut ties with the WHO, accusing the U.N. agency of becoming a puppet of China.

The WHO has denied Trump’s assertions that it promoted Chinese “disinformation” about the virus.

Trump’s decision came after a pledge by Chinese President Xi Jinping to give $2 billion to the WHO over the next two years to help combat the novel coronavirus, which emerged in China late last year.

The EU on Saturday urged the United States to reconsider its decision.

China calls on the international community to provide more political support and funding for the WHO, said Zhao.

The U.S. decision to quit the Geneva-based agency comes amid growing tension between the United States and China over the coronavirus outbreak.

Since taking office, Trump has questioned the value of the United Nations and scorned the importance of multilateralism as he focuses on an “America First” agenda.

He has quit the U.N. Human Rights Council, the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO, a global accord to tackle climate change, the Iran nuclear deal and opposed a U.N. migration pact.

Reporting by Gabriel Crossley; writing by Se Young Lee; Editing by Gareth Jones, Robert Birsel

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