Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ratcheted the Trump administration’s criticism of China to new heights Sunday, asserting the Chinese Communist Party has become “much more aggressive” over the past decade in attempts to undermine America on the world stage.
“This is a Chinese Communist Party that has come to view itself as intent upon the destruction of Western ideas, Western democracies [and] Western values,” Mr. Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“It puts Americans at risk,” the secretary of state said, asserting that the list of actions taken by the government in Beijing is “long, whether it’s stealing American intellectual property, destroying hundreds and millions of jobs here in the United States, or their efforts to put at risk sea lanes in the South China Sea, denying commercial traffic the opportunity to move through, armed encampments in places that China has no right to be.”
“For the first time,” Mr. Pompeo said, “we have a President of the United States who is prepared to push back against that and protect the American people.”
He praised Mr. Trump’s announcement Friday that the administration is preparing to impose sanctions on China over its announcement of a new state security law aimed at crushing dissent and democracy in Hong Kong. The president made the announcement after the State Department declared that Washington officially assesses that Hong Kong no longer enjoys the legal and economic freedoms China promised it would tolerate when Great Britain gave the territory back to Beijing back in 1997.
The back-and-forth over Hong Kong marked the latest in Washington-Beijing tensions that have risen throughout Mr. Trump’s time in office, underscored by the president’s imposition of tariffs aimed at drawing China into a more equitable trade relationship with the United States.
The tensions have soared in the COVID-19 era, with the Trump administration accusing Beijing of mismanaging and lying about the virus after it originated in China. U.S. officials say Beijing has engaged in a disinformation campaign aimed at blaming the virus on Washington in a bid to undermine America’s image around the world.
“They’ve become more aggressive in their efforts to do disinformation campaigns like we saw when the coronavirus was moving around the world, when they closed down their own province but allowed travel around the world, infecting hundreds of thousands of people,” Mr. Pompeo said Sunday. “We saw the disinformation of that campaign trying to deflect attention.”
“We’ve seen their increased cyber activity as well, their efforts to be in a position to do true destructive harm in different places all across the world,” the secretary of state said. “This is a Chinese Communist Party that is very aggressive.”
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