In a foreign policy address at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of the “China threat” Thursday and called on the country’s citizens and other nations of the world to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party.
Pompeo said the United States must reject “the old paradigm of blind engagement with China” and called on the “free world” to “triumph over this new tyranny.”
Echoing comments Thursday by President Donald Trump, Pompeo also again blamed China for the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“Today, we’re all wearing masks … because the Chinese Communist Party failed to keep its promise to the world,” Pompeo said of the face coverings being encouraged to stem the spread of the disease.
Pompeo pointed to Chinese government efforts to put down unrest in Hong Kong as another broken promise by the country, and he warned of a “Chinese military growing stronger and stronger and indeed more menacing.”
Pompeo acknowledged the irony of delivering a critical speech on U.S. relations with China at the library of Nixon, whose crown jewel of foreign policy achievements was normalizing relations with China in 1972.
“The world was much different then,” Pompeo said. “We imagined engagement with China with bright promise and cooperation.”
But he said all that promise has resulted in disappointment, asking, “What do Americans have to show from 50 years of engagement” with China?
Nixon did “what he believed what was best for America at the time,” Pompeo said, adding that Nixon was a “brilliant student of China” and a “fierce Cold Warrior” who “deserves enormous credit for realizing China was too important to be ignored.”
Nixon “hoped communist China would return that commitment” to engagement, Pompeo said.
But the secretary of state said while that engagement “resurrected China’s failed economy,” the country ended up “biting the hand that feeds it” with “propaganda” that even shows up at times “in our PTA meetings.”
Pompeo said kowtowing to China has “marginalized our friends in Taiwan,” which “later blossomed into a democracy” and the engagement has left the United States “silent” about “human rights abuses.”
He also accused China of “ripping off our intellectual property, costing millions of jobs,” calling the nation “increasingly authoritarian … and a threat to freedom everywhere else.”
“President Trump has said, `enough,”’ Pompeo said.
Pompeo said China is a “Marxist-Leninist regime,” and the U.S. should pay more attention to the government’s actions than its words.
“President (Ronald) Reagan said trust but verify. … When it comes to the Chinese Communist Party, we must distrust and verify,” Pompeo said.
The “freedom-loving” countries of the world must now “induce China to change” as Nixon advocated, Pompeo said. “Beijing’s actions threaten our people and our prosperity.”
The secretary of state said the U.S. must “empower the Chinese people… who are completely distinct from the Chinese Communist Party.” He noted that he recently met with democracy advocates from Hong Kong and the Tiananmen Square 1989 protests, a survivor of which was in attendance at Pompeo’s speech.
Pompeo, who was born in Orange and attended high school in Fountain Valley, said he learned an important lesson during his service in the U.S. Army.
“One thing I learned is communists always lie,” Pompeo said. “The biggest lie is that they speak for 1.4 billion people, who are afraid to speak out.”
He added, “Think how much better off the world would be, not to mention the people of China, if we’d been able to hear from the doctors in Wuhan about a new and novel virus.”
Pompeo said he believes China is making the “same mistakes” as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics before it collapsed.
In an interview with Nixon Foundation President and CEO Hugh Hewitt after the speech, Pompeo suggested that a U.S. partnership with Russia would be an important hedge against China. Nixon viewed his normalizing relations with China as a way to undercut China’s relationship with the USSR.
“There are places where we need to work with Russia,” Pompeo said, such as “the next generation of arms control agreements like Reagan did.”
The U.S. “interests” mirror Russia’s, Pompeo said.
“We asked China to participate and they’ve declined to date. We hope they change their mind,” Pompeo said. “If we work alongside Russia I’m convinced we can make the world safer. … And so, there is a place for us to work with Russia to achieve a more likely outcome of peace not only for the United States but the world.”
The speech came two days after the U.S. government ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston by Friday. Pompeo called the embassy a “hub of spying and intellectual property theft.”
“We are setting out clear expectations for how the Chinese Communist Party is going to behave, and when they don’t, we’re going to take actions that protect the American people, protect our security, our national security, and also protect our economy and jobs,” Pompeo said Wednesday at a news availability in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Pompeo met with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen Wednesday to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, China and other matters. He also met with Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeppe Kofod; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Education Jenis av Rana of the Faroe Islands, a self-governing archipelago that forms part of Denmark; and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Energy Steen Lynge of Greenland, an autonomous territory within Denmark, to discuss opportunities for closer cooperation between the United States and Denmark in key areas of mutual concern.
On Tuesday, Pompeo was in London, where he cheered Britain’s hardening posture toward China and appealed for a global coalition against that country, blaming the Chinese Communist Party for what he described as exploitation of the coronavirus pandemic “to further its own interests,” the New York Times reported from the British capital.
The secretary of state also heaped praise on Dominic Raab, Britain’s foreign secretary, for his government’s decision last week to ban equipment supplied by the Chinese technology giant Huawei from Britain’s high-speed wireless network.
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