The United States, and the world, is only now awakening to the threats posed by the Chinese communist regime, including the security concerns involved with Chinese telecom giant Huawei, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a Fox Business interview that aired on May 29.
“We’re late to the game,” said Pompeo, who used the analogy of a frog being slowly boiled alive to explain the lack of action by previous administrations in dealing with a range of security concerns posed by the Chinese regime.
“[We] didn’t see the temperature rising as quickly as we should have, and frankly that’s true for the whole world. I think the whole world is waking up to these concerns.”
In recognition of these concerns, the Trump administration has taken a tougher stance on the Chinese regime, Pompeo said, including by pressing for free and fair trade with China via trade negotiations, and recently blacklisting Chinese tech giant Huawei on security grounds.
“We are determined to put in place all the resources needed to push back against [China],” he said.
Reiterating previous comments, the secretary of state said Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms gear maker, has deep ties with the Chinese communist regime.
“Huawei is an instrument of the Chinese government. They’re deeply connected. It’s something that hard for Americans to understand,” he said.
“No [U.S.] president directs an American private company. That’s very different in China,” Pompeo added. “They just simply operate under a different set of rules. That’s the most fundamental thing I think people need to try and get their head around.”
Pompeo pointed out that the company has no autonomy under China’s totalitarian system, and thus would have no choice but to provide the regime with U.S. data if requested.
“If it’s the case that the Chinese Communist Party wanted to get information from technology that was in the possession of Huawei, it is almost certainly the case that Huawei would provide that to them,” he said.
“That deep connectivity exists inside the way their political economy operates. That’s very different in the United States. That’s the threat that President Trump sees from Huawei.”
Under Chinese laws, companies are compelled to cooperate with authorities and grant access to data when asked.
Experts and officials have warned that the regime uses cyber espionage, through its military and non-military arms, to bridge technology gaps and advance military development. “China uses a variety of methods to acquire foreign military and dual-use technologies, including targeted foreign direct investment, cyber theft, and exploitation of private Chinese nationals’ access to these technologies,” according to a 2019 Pentagon report on China’s military capabilities.
Last June, media reported that Chinese hackers stole sensitive data from a U.S. Navy contractor, including secret plans for a supersonic anti-ship missile for use on U.S. submarines.
The secretary of state said the U.S. administration is also pushing back against Chinese actions in the South China Sea, to ensure shipping lanes in the region remain free for use by the United States and other countries.
In recent years, the Chinese regime has militarized areas of the South China Sea by building military installations on artificial islands and reefs. It also has deployed coast guard ships and Chinese fishing boats to intimidate fishing vessels, blocked access to waterways, and seized shoals and reefs.