WHO Director-General Tedros ‘can sometimes be a bit naive,’ advisers say of China praise: Report
Chris White on May 16, 2020
World Health Organization advisers told Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to tone down his rhetoric after he said he wanted to publicly praise China’s supposed quick virus response in January, a Friday report shows.
Tedros wanted to commend China after he returned from Beijing in late January, but advisers warned him that such a move would not be perceived well, sources told Reuters in a report on the director-general’s discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Reuters did not explain why the sources were anonymous but did note that Tedros was adamant about his praise.
“We knew how it was going to look, and he can sometimes be a bit naive about that,” one source familiar with the discussions told Reuters. “But he’s also stubborn.”
Tedros’ decision was in part designed to push China into cooperating with the WHO on the virus outbreak, according to Reuters. The WHO has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment about Reuters’ report or to confirm Tedros’ intentions for praising China.
China “cooperated on issues we had sought support on,” the WHO told Reuters in a statement explaining why it praised the communist nation. It also noted that the country provided information on the virus’s genetic coding.
Recent reports suggest China relied on Tedros to help push out Chinese talking points.
Xi reportedly met Tedros on Jan. 21 for help suppressing information about human-to-human transmission of coronavirus, according to German intelligence. “The BND’s verdict is harsh: At least four, if not six, weeks have been lost in Beijing’s information policy in the fight against the virus,” Der Spiegel noted in its May 9 report on Germany’s assessment.
The WHO repeated China’s claim in a Jan. 14 tweet that coronavirus was not transmittable between humans.
The first case of coronavirus, or COVID-19, is believed to have appeared in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. It has since spread to more than 36 other countries, reaching a global death toll of more than 300,000, according to the CDC data. The virus is credited with killing roughly 87,000 people in the United States.
Reuters’ report also comes as President Donald Trump’s administration considers whether to enact financial punishment on China for worsening the pandemic by initially concealing the virus’s seriousness. He floated the possibility of ending all ties with the communist nation over the matter.
“Now, if you did, what would happen? You’d save $500 billion if you cut off the whole relationship,” Trump said during a May 14 Fox Business interview. He was referring to the total cost of Chinese imports. Such imports from China cost the United States $452 billion dollars in 2019, according to the Census Bureau.
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