The coronavirus pandemic has brought many people suffering from either the virus itself or from the economical impact of the countermeasures to fight against it. Amid all these, however, world leaders are having strained relations with their fellow officials as accusations go back-and-forth.
A recent meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday intended to pull the countries of the world together against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic turned sour as tensions rose between the United States and Chinese leaders.
Donation for a 'good' cause
At the start of the forums, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that Beijing would be donating $2 billion to help the fight against the coronavirus which will be used in dispatching healthcare workers and medical supplies to several countries around the world affected by the pandemic, as reported by the New York Times.
The funds given will be utilized over two years and amounts to more than double the financial aid given by the United States before President Trump's orders last month to cut off the donations.
The Asian country's donation will also set China as the frontrunner of international efforts meant to control the COVID-19 pandemic that has made people around the world suffer.
The move, however, was seen by American authorities as a way to distract the world of China's alleged hiding of information regarding the coronavirus in the early stages of the pandemic.
The arguments have been developing over the past few weeks with a recent debacle over Taiwan's inclusion as an observer over the World Health Assembly (WHA).
The independent island was ruled out of WHO membership by Beijing as it considers the province awaiting reunification with the mainland.
A divided world
According to the CNBC, Taiwan was part of the World Health Assembly as a non-voting observer between 2009 and 2016. The province's representation at the assembly has been blocked by Beijing, however, as scepticisms arose.
Former US defence department official, Drew Thompson, who was responsible for managing bilateral relations with the Chinese, Taiwanese, and Mongolian governments, said that "China has always been the arbiter of whether or not Taiwan can participate in WHA meetings, and it makes that decision based on its own political calculator of the state of cross-Strait relations, rather than concern for global public health."
The announcement by President Xi was made in a video conference to the WHA, which is an annual event that is being conducted virtually as new pandemic situations arise.
President Trump, on the other hand, declined to lead the opening of the two-day gathering, which gave the Chinese president the chance to lead the assembly himself.
"In China, after making painstaking efforts and sacrifice, we have turned the tide on the virus and protected lives," said President Xi. "We have done everything in our power to support and assist countries in need."
The US secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, replied with criticism that both the WHO and China lacked the proper handling of the pandemic that led to unnecessary deaths and suffering.
"We must be frank about one of the primary reasons that this outbreak spun out of control," said Azar. "There was a failure by this organization to obtain the information that the world needed, and that failure cost many lives."
Other leaders, in response to the remarks given by the involved parties, shared the lack of global cooperation that is needed in fighting the pandemic as they urge every nation to set aside their differences and work together.
"No country can solve this problem alone," Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said. "We must work together."