Pompeo talked about U.S. foreign policies from the perspective of U.S. history since the time of the Founding Fathers. He noted that since the Cold War, the United States has misjudged the Russian and Chinese regimes.
The Chinese regime has not “revolutionized towards democracy,” according to Pompeo. Instead, it has detained scores of ethnic minority Muslims inside concentration camps. At the same time, the Chinese Communist Party uses “coercion and corruption as its primary tools of statecraft,” he said.
About a week ago, Randall Schriver, who heads Asia policy at the U.S. Department of Defense, reiterated U.S. concerns about the imprisoned Muslims in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, condemning Beijing for detaining up to 3 million Muslims for political indoctrination—the latest and highest estimate by U.S. authorities.
China has argued that these camps are vocational training centers, despite the fact that many former detainees have recounted witnessing torture, abuse, and rape at these facilities.
The current U.S. administration wishes to take China to task, according to Pompeo.
“On China, the President has taken action to stop China from stealing our stuff. No longer will American companies be forced to hand over their technological crown jewels as the price of doing business in China,” Pompeo stated.
He added: “When a deal doesn’t work for the United States, no deal shall be done.” Pompeo was referring to the recent decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to hike tariffs on Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent, after China had allegedly reneged on commitments made during previous rounds of negotiations. Those commitments included curbing theft of U.S intellectual property and trade secrets, as well as forced technology transfer.
“We are also fighting the battle to make sure that the Chinese Communist Party cannot burrow into the data of billions of internet users through companies like Huawei and ZTE,” Pompeo said.
U.S. officials have long raised security concerns about products made by Huawei and ZTE, China’s two telecom giants, which they worry can be exploited by Beijing for espionage. Both companies have strong ties to the Chinese military.
Pompeo also brought up concerns with the next-generation mobile technology of 5G. Huawei has pushed hard for governments and companies around the world to adopt its equipment.
“The internet of tomorrow must have buried within it Western values and must not belong to China,” Pompeo said.
In the face of increased Chinese involvement in the Arctic and the South China Sea, the United States is also taking notice. According to Pompeo, the U.S. government has bolstered its military presence in the South China Sea, where Beijing has steadily expanded military and other installations on artificial islands and reefs, angering nearby countries who also have territorial claims to the area.
While the U.S. State Secretary did not provide specifics about the U.S. military strategy in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy did recently conclude a week-long joint military exercise in those waters, with navies from Japan, India, and the Philippines, according to Reuters.
The U.S. is “banding together” with Australia, India, Japan, and South Korea, to ensure that nations in the Indo-Pacific can protect their sovereignty from coercion, Pompeo stated, without directly naming China.
But Pompeo was specific when it came to the Arctic. He said: “We want to cooperate with like-minded democracies who share our vision of the Arctic, and guard against those who don’t—nations like China and Russia.”
The Pentagon’s recently released annual report on China’s military pointed out that China has increased activity and engagement in the Arctic since it gained observer status in the Arctic Council in 2013.
The ultimate threat by Beijing is the possibility that it could deploy submarines to the region “as a deterrent against nuclear attacks,” according to the Pentagon report, warning that the Chinese military could employ more advanced submarines by 2020, increasing its fleet from 65 to 70.
This is not the first time that Pompeo has given a public warning about Chinese behavior in the Arctic. On May 6, while speaking to Finnish broadcaster Yle Tv1, he said China could create a “debt trap” situation with its investments in Arctic countries—something that has already happened in other parts of the world.
In 2017, Sri Lanka handed over control of its main southern port, Hambantota, as well as 15,000 acres of land, to Beijing, after it failed to repay Chinese loans.