Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered an address at the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California in which he attacked the “old paradigm of blind engagement with China.”
“We must not continue it. We must not return to it,” he said.
Pompeo noted that he had chosen the Nixon Library as the site for his address because of Nixon’s role in reaching out to the People’s Republic of China nearly 50 years ago. Nixon’s hopes for China, Pompeo said, had not been fulfilled.
Worse, he said, China had exploited the U.S. and the rest of the world. “We opened our arms to Chinese citizens, only to see the CCP exploit our free and open society,” he said.
He added: “Hollywood – the epicenter of American creative freedom, and self-appointed arbiters of social justice – self-censors even the most mildly unfavorable reference to China.”
Pompeo also slammed China for taking over American supply chains, and using slave labor to produce exports to the world.
“Perhaps we were naïve about China’s virulent strain of Communism, or triumphalist after the Cold War, or cravenly capitalist, or hoodwinked by Beijing’s talk of a ‘peaceful rise,’” he said.
“Whatever the reason, today China is increasingly authoritarian at home, and more aggressive in its hostility to freedom abroad.”
Pompeo spoke just one day after the U.S. ordered the shuttering of China’s consulate in Houston, Texas, over allegations of spying.
He said that dialogue with China would continue, but that President Donald Trump had made clear that the relationship had to change.
Pompeo also took a swipe at Chinese premier Xi Jinping, describing him as a devoted communist, a “true believer in a bankrupt totalitarian ideology.”
The secretary of state drew applause when he said: “President Reagan dealt with the Soviets on the basis of ‘trust but verify.’ When it comes to the CCP, I say, ‘Distrust and verify.'”
He said that the free world had to “induce” China to change “in more creative and assertive ways, because Beijing’s actions threaten our people and our prosperity.”
Pompeo spoke extensively about Chinese human rights abuses, from Tiananmen Square to the Uyghur concentration camps.
And he called on other nations to join the U.S. in confronting China and changing its behavior.
“I call on all nations to start by doing what America has done – to insist on reciprocity, transparency, and accountability from the Chinese Communist Party.”
He singled out one NATO ally that, he said, would not stand up to China for fear of losing market access. Though he did not mention the country by name, it seemed he was referring to Germany, which has close commercial ties with China.
Cooperation was necessary, he said: “This isn’t about containment. It’s about a complex new challenge we’ve never faced before: The USSR was closed off from the free world. Communist China is already here, within our borders.”
He said he believed America could succeed, because China depended more on the U.S. than the U.S. depended on China.
Pompeo described his speech as the fourth, and concluding, speech from a series of Trump administration officials on the nature of the threat from China and the changing nature of the relationship.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.