Secretary of State Michael Pompeo recently launched a dialogue between the United States and the European Union on the challenges and threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party — a signal to Beijing that the U.S. is not alone in its growing concerns.
The launch of the dialogue — a new channel for discussion and information-sharing — is also significant, given Europe’s general uneasiness about standing up to China.
Pompeo announced the dialogue during a video discussion at the German Marshall Fund’s June 25 Brussels Forum, where he talked about the common threat the West faces from China.
“I’m pleased to announce that the United States has accepted [EU High Representative and Vice President] Josep Borell’s proposal to create a U.S.-E.U. dialogue on China. I’m excited about this,” he said.
“My invitation to America’s friends in Europe is to defend these values in our time. that they may shape the world for the good of the future, just as they have done in the past. We’ll defend these values together,” he said.
Pompeo said he recently spoke with EU foreign ministers on the many challenges China poses to the West.
He cited its military’s provocative actions and continued aggression in the South China Sea, its deadly confrontation with Indian troops, its opaque nuclear program, and threats against peaceful neighbors.
Furthermore, he said, the CCP has broken international commitments, including to the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations, and the people of Hong Kong, a former British protectorate.
He slammed the CCP’s “predatory economic practices, such as forcing nations to do business with Huawei, an arm of the CCP’s surveillance state,” and its violations of European sovereignty, such as its brow-beating of HSBC.
He also added “Beijing’s legion human rights abuses, which continue to shock us all.”
However, Europe’s “awakening” to the threat China poses came with the CCP’s coverup of the coronavirus, which has killed hundreds of thousands across the world.
“Europeans, like Americans, are starting to find their voice,” he said. “There is a transatlantic awakening to the truth of what’s happening.”
Pompeo said he expected the dialogue to start in the coming week and continue into the future.
The U.S. and our European partners must work together to continue the Transatlantic awakening to the China challenge, in the interest of preserving our free societies, our prosperity, and our future. pic.twitter.com/z9mNUncnNJ
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) June 28, 2020
Pompeo acknowledged there will be challenges on confronting China in Europe, where similar to the U.S., business communities who make money in China would urge for “calm” and accepting “an increasingly belligerent CCP.”
He said European leaders should not stand up to China for the U.S. — but for themselves, citing Chinese intellectual property theft from European nations and the harm it does to their economies and workers.
“My message today is this: We have to work together to continue the transatlantic awakening to the China challenge, the interest of preserving our free societies is our prosperity and our future,” he said.
“It won’t be easy. It’s particularly tempting for many, particularly those in our business communities who make money in China, to say we must calm tensions and increasingly accept an increasingly belligerent CCP,” he said.
“That’s nonsense. I don’t accept that argument,” he said. “There is no compromise between freedom and authoritarianism. I don’t want the future to be shaped by the CCP.”
“This isn’t the United States confronting China…the world is now confronting China,” he said. “This isn’t the United States and the United States alone.”