White House Demanded China Provide More Access Over Virus Origin


Some of the Biden’s administration’s frustrations with China and the W.H.O. echo former President Donald J. Trump’s scathing criticism of the W.H.O. — although Mr. Biden opposed Mr. Trump’s effort to cut off federal funding to the agency or withdraw as a member over its handling of the virus crisis. Officials with the agency have argued that they have no enforcement authority, and do not have the power to demand greater cooperation from nations.

Ms. Psaki said Mr. Biden, while supportive of international health agencies, had no plans to disengage from the W.H.O., but said he had long expressed frustrations with China’s actions in the crisis.

“He believes that the American people, the global community, the medical experts, the doctors — all of the people who have been working to save lives, the families who have lost loved ones, all deserve greater transparency, they deserve better information,” she said.

Still, the Biden administration has no immediate plans to join an effort by the leaders of more than two dozen countries, the European Union and the World Health Organization to create a new international treaty to protect the world from future pandemics.

“We do have some concerns primarily about the timing and launching into negotiations for a new treaty right now,” Ms. Psaki said, “and we believe that could divert attention away from substantive issues regarding the response preparedness for future pandemic threats.”

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Janice Hill

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