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School of Politics and International Relations

WHO in the middle of geopolitical row between USA and China


President Trump has accused the World Health Organization of being under Chinese control because of the way it handled the coronavirus pandemic when it first emerged. But the former Director of Global Health at Public Health England says the WHO has had to strike a balance between transparency and diplomacy. At the start of the year, President Trump praised China for its handling of coronavirus, but he subsequently accused the WHO of being too willing to take Beijing's assurances that it had the virus under control. Professor Sophie Harman, from Queen Mary University of London, thought there had been some missteps on the part of the WHO. She said: "I think quiet diplomacy with China is good. Praising China may be a step too far, and therefore, you open yourself up to these accusations of bias. That's a minor issue that became a major issue."

Clip available on request



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