Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that he hopes to build an international coalition to counter recent Chinese actions ranging from the global coronavirus to the country’s involvement in the South China Sea.
Speaking from a press conference in London Tuesday, Pompeo said he and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab discussed the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) recent moves to “bully its neighbors, militarize features in the South China Sea, and instigate a deadly confrontation with India.”
“We hope we can build out a coalition that understands this threat, will work collectively to convince the Chinese Communist Party it’s not in their best interest to engage in this kind of behavior,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo also applauded Prime Minster Borris Johnson’s recent moves to scrap all Huawei products and the country’s involvement in the development of the U.K.’s 5G network — a decision that Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said will likely delay the U.K.’s progress and cost them an additional $2.5 billion.
The secretary of state further accused China of illegal maritime activity in the South China Sea, a critique that the Chinese government has said is none of the United State’s business and further accused U.S. officials of “stirring up tension and inciting confrontation in the region.”
Relations between the U.S. and China have been increasingly tense since the outbreak of the coronavirus, which President Trump refers to as the “Chinese virus.”
U.S. lawmakers have also condemned China’s lack of transparency surrounding the outbreak.
“The CCP’s exploitation of this disaster to further its own interests has been disgraceful,” Pompeo said Tuesday. “Rather than helping the world, General Secretary Xi [Jinping] has shown the world the party’s true face.”
Pompeo did not expand on how China has exploited the coronavirus.
The U.S. has imposed several recent sanctions on China for human rights abuses against Uighurs and for interfering with Hong Kong’s autonomy — a pressure that the U.K. government is now feeling.
U.K.-China relations have become strained with the recent passing of new security laws in Hong Kong, which vastly extended China’s reach into the once semi-autonomous territory. Pompeo’s visit came within hours of the U.K.’s decision to suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong.
“The U.K.’s erroneous remarks and moves on Hong Kong is a serious breach of international law and basic norms governing international relations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in a news conference in Washington, D.C., Tuesday.
“Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs that allow no foreign interference.”
The U.K. foreign secretary said Sunday that the decision to enforce sanctions is not a “willy nilly” decision, the Finical Times reported.
“We want to see every nation who understands freedom and democracy… to understand this threat that the Chinese Communist Party is posing to them,” Pompeo said Tuesday.