Pompeo, in fiery speech, hammers China over worldwide abuses

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a news briefing at the State Department in Washington, November 18, 2019.

Yara Nardi | Reuters

WASHINGTON — Capping a string of searing speeches by Trump administration officials, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed the Chinese government in a sweeping address Thursday, saying the United States will no longer tolerate Beijing’s playbook to usurp global order.

“The truth is that our policies, and those of other free nations, resurrected China’s failing economy, only to see Beijing bite the international hands that fed it,” Pompeo told an audience at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California.

The crumbling relationship between Washington and Beijing, strained from an ongoing trade battle, has intensified as the Trump administration places blame squarely on China for the coronavirus pandemic and its devastation on the global economy.

This week, in another sign of escalating tension, the U.S. government ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston. Beijing vowed to retaliate.

“We opened our arms to Chinese citizens, only to see the CCP exploit our free and open society. It sent propagandists into our press conferences, our research centers, our high-school and college campuses,” the nation’s top diplomat said Thursday, adding that the Chinese government had also “ripped off our prized intellectual property” and “sucked supply chains away from America.”

Pompeo then sharpened his focus to Chinese telecom giant Huawei, a firm that he has previously described as a “Trojan horse for Chinese intelligence.”

“We have stopped pretending Huawei is an innocent telecommunications company … we have called it what it is, a national security threat, and taken action accordingly,” he said. 

U.S. officials have long complained that Chinese intellectual property theft has cost the economy billions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs. They have also said that it threatens national security. Meanwhile, Beijing maintains that it does not engage in intellectual property theft.

Pompeo’s remarks follow those of U.S. Attorney General William Barr, national security advisor Robert O’Brien and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

In a blistering speech last week, Barr accused the Chinese government of human rights abuses, espionage and economic blitzkrieg.

“The American people are more attuned than ever to the threat that the Chinese Communist Party poses not only to our way of life, but to our very lives and livelihoods,” Barr said.

Last month, O’Brien slammed China for a laundry list of offenses before saying that “the days of American passivity and naivety regarding the People’s Republic of China are over.”

Similarly, Wray said the Trump administration would not allow the Chinese to carry on with espionage and cyberattacks against the United States which has amounted to what he called “one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history.”

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