Secretary Michael R. Pompeo with Bob Cusack, Editor-in-Chief of the Hill (Hong Kong Excerpts)

U.S. Department of State

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Bob Cusack, Editor-in-Chief of The Hill

JULY 15, 2020


QUESTION: On China, it is a tense time with the South China Sea, Hong Kong, conflict there. What is the status of the U.S.-China relationship?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We’re engaged in dialogue. I traveled to Honolulu now two, three weeks back to meet with Yang Jiechi. But sadly, they want to talk about cooperation, they want to talk about being a global power that complies with the rule of law, and yet everyplace we see their actions, their actions belie that. Examples: General Secretary Xi promised he would not militarize the South China Sea in 2015, in the Rose Garden. He militarized the South China Sea. They made a promise, a 50-year commitment, an internationally recognized agreement between China and the United Kingdom in Hong Kong, that there would be one country and two systems, and he’s now fundamentally violated that.

Everyplace the Chinese Communist Party – they make commitments under the Paris Climate Accord that they’re not remotely close to complying with. This is a Chinese Communist Party that is acting in a way that poses real threats to the world, and the United States is going to respond each – in each of those venues to make sure that we preserve American national security and impose costs on the Chinese Communist Party in order to achieve the change in behavior that will have a good outcome. So we want a free and open Indo-Pacific; the Chinese Communist Party continues to treat that body of water as its own maritime empire. We’re not going to allow that to happen.

QUESTION: There is bipartisan legislation in the House and the Senate that would give certain Hong Kong residents refugee status. Is that legislation a good idea?

SECRETARY POMPEO: The President hasn’t made a decision on this yet. I’m very confident that if there are people who are coming from anywhere in the world who seek asylum, the United States has always been a place that welcomes those people. We – it’s been a little bit slower, fewer people seeking asylum, and our capacity to process asylum claims has been a little slowed down by the virus that emanated from China. We’ll be back at it shortly, and I’m sure there’ll be people from Hong Kong – the United Kingdom has graciously allowed some 3 million people to come from Hong Kong. Australia has set up a set of rules, Canada too. The Western world – democracies understand what the Chinese Communist Party is doing to those of us who believe in freedom and liberty, and we will make sure and take care of those freedom fighters who want to travel, who don’t feel like they’re safe, and can continue to do good work inside of Hong Kong or in any other country for that matter.