Pompeo’s Nixon Speech, the ‘Beginning of a New Era’ in China Relations

August 14, 2020 Updated: August 17, 2020

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s landmark speech “Communist China and the Free World” has been heralded as the “beginning of a new era” in global affairs and a marked shift in foreign policy towards Beijing.

Sydney-based Dr Jin Chin, chair of the Federation for a Democratic China told The Epoch Times on Aug. 13 that the speech was the moment Chinese democracy activists “have long been waiting for.”

According to Chin, since the United States and the People’s Republic of China entered formal diplomatic relations, U.S. administrations from both sides of the aisle have been “naively and wishfully” engaging with the regime.

Epoch Times Photo
Dr Jin Chin, chair of the Federation for a Democratic China (Supplied)

The Federation for a Democratic China has been active since 1989 and was established in the wake of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Pompeo’s speech in late July called on like-minded nations to “induce change” in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The speech was delivered at the Richard Nixon Library and Museum, symbolising the enormity of the change to the 50-year engagement strategy that has underpinned U.S.-China relations since its establishment by former President Richard Nixon in 1972.

Pompeo noted though that ultimately Nixon regretted engaging with the regime and feared he might have created a “Frankenstein’s monster” by opening the world to the CCP.

Epoch Times Photo
Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai welcomes U.S. President Richard Nixon during his official visit to Beijing, China on February 21, 1972. Richard Nixon sought to play the China card as a way to gain an advantage in the contest with the Soviet Union. (AFP/Getty Images)

From now on, the secretary of state said nations could not be satisfied by merely “getting tough” on Beijing, and instead, called on governments to “induce China to change in more creative and assertive ways.”

“We must also engage and empower the Chinese people – a dynamic, freedom-loving people who are completely distinct from the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo said.

“But changing the CCP’s behaviour cannot be the mission of the Chinese people alone. Free nations have work to do to defend freedom,” he continued.

Epoch Times Photo
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers a speech on Communist China and the future of the free world at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library on July 23, 2020, in Yorba Linda, California. (David McNew/Getty Images)

For Chin, Pompeo’s speech indicates that the international community is now reaching a crossroad where the civilised world cannot co-exist with the CCP.

“If the free world fails to realise this live-or-die conflict with the CCP (the last stronghold of totalitarianism) then the CCP will defeat the free world and dominate it,” he said.

Chin says the potential fall of communism in China was becoming “clearly visible” in recent years with a host of external and internal pressures coalescing on the regime.

He said there were three likely scenarios for Beijing’s rule going forward. The first was Beijing holds tightly to power and continues its economic decline.

The second, could see the regime respond to “intra-party tussles” with political purges and reforms, further weakening the totalitarian structure of the CCP.

Nearly 200 people died during a series of violent riots that broke out on July 5, 2009 over several days in Urumqi, the capital city of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in northwestern China, between Uyghurs and Han people.
A demonstrator wearing a mask painted with the colours of the flag of East Turkestan and a hand bearing the colours of the Chinese flag attends a protest of supporters of the mostly Muslim Uighur minority and Turkish nationalists to denounce China’s treatment of ethnic Uighur Muslims, in front of the Chinese consulate in Istanbul on July 5, 2018. (Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

Lastly, he argues the CCP could collapse almost overnight like the former Soviet Union.

“I speculate that the third scenario is most likely,” Chin said. “The ethnic minority regions and Taiwan may take advantage of the situation to exit Greater China.”

A scenario that has some credence given the break-up of the Soviet Union saw many countries formerly tied to the Russian-led union quickly reassert their independence.

Chin pointed to former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui’s proposal that a Greater China could become seven greater autonomous regions, namely Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongolia, South China, North China, and Northeast China.

Epoch Times Photo
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during a press conference at the presidential office in Taipei on Jan. 22, 2020. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)

“In the post CCP era, the chance would be very slim for Greater China to rebuild a united and constitutional democracy with all ethnic minorities remaining,” Chin said.

“That would be the tough and harsh reality the majority of Chinese will face when the CCP is no more,” he added.

“The CCP has been given a golden opportunity to choose the best way for China and the Chinese people. However, no CCP leaders have had the insight and sense of historic responsibility for the nation” he concluded.