Pompeo cites Ladakh tensions, accuses China of playing ‘rogue actor’ around world

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the comments as he addressed Copenhagen Democracy Summit, a conclave held by non-profit Alliance of Democracies Foundation.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo | File image | @SecPompeo | Twitter
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo | File image | @SecPompeo | Twitter

New Delhi: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused China of behaving as a “rogue actor” not just in its own neighbourhood, but also in the larger world order. Even as he blamed China for escalating border tensions with India, Pompeo said Beijing had broken its “promise” to the world with its actions from Xinjiang to the South China Sea. 

Pompeo made the comments Friday as he addressed the virtual Copenhagen Democracy Summit, an annual conclave held by the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, a non-profit founded in 2017 by former Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who is also the former Danish Prime Minister. 

“The PLA (People’s Liberation Army of China) has escalated border tensions — we see it today in India, the world’s most popular, populous democracy,” Pompeo said. “And we watch as it militarises the South China Sea and illegally claims more territory there, threatening vital sea lanes, a promise they broke again.”

Referring to his meeting with the Chinese State Councilor and their top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, in Hawaii Wednesday, Pompeo said, “It’s no longer enough to listen to what the Chinese Communist Party is saying. We can see their actions. I ticked through a few of them: Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang, what they’re doing in India, what they’ve done in the economic zones along the Philippines and Malaysia and Indonesia and Vietnam, the coercion on Australia — when they had the audacity to demand that there would be an investigation of how this virus got from Wuhan to Milan, how this virus got from Wuhan to Tehran, how this virus got from Wuhan to Oklahoma City, and to Belgium and to Spain, and decimating the global economy.”

He said China had made a “bargain” with the western world — “that was the bet”, that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will better the lives of their own people with the investments made by the world into its economy, thereby enhancing trading ties.

“For many years, the West, in an era of hope, believed we could change the Chinese Communist Party and improve the lives of the Chinese people along the way. That was the bargain. That was the bet … Over decades, Americans and European companies invested in China with enormous optimism,” he added. 


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‘America responding to China like never before’

According to Pompeo what the Donald Trump administration is doing with China today is something that has never been done before by any Republican or Democrat President.

“We’ve had Republican presidents, Democrat presidents who simply allowed China to have deeply nonreciprocal relationships, not just on trade — which of course is true — but we responded to their military, use of military force, by moving back. We responded to their use of diplomatic coercion via retreating,” he said. “Donald Trump is not going to permit that, and we made that clear.” 

Over his six-hour meeting with Yang, Pompeo said, he had discussed what America plans to do with China and what Washington thinks about the role played by China in the coronavirus pandemic. He also sought a response from the Chinese side on how to address the challenges thrown up by the pandemic.

“It was a very frank conversation. We still don’t have the answers the medical professionals, epidemiologists need to take on this challenge,” he said. “If the Chinese Communist Party can’t rise to that — forget what they say — if they can’t rise to that level, what every democratic nation would have done in response to a virus that began in our nation, we would have participated in a global response where we shared information openly, we learned together, and we resolve the problem set together.”


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