Remarks to the Economic Club of New York (Hong Kong Excerpts)

U.S. Department of State

Remarks to the Economic Club of New York

JULY 15, 2020


QUESTION: I find it very interesting because there have been many commentators who have suggested that you should be launching all these efforts, but in collaboration with our allies. And I guess it was about 10 days ago at the German Marshall Fund Brussels Forum, you announced in conjunction with the VP of the EU Josep Borrell a U.S.-EU dialogue on China. And is that because the Europeans are becoming closer to the U.S. view, or do you think that you have allies there that you can bring forth that can cooperate with us in pursuing these issues?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. So it’s an important question. I’ve been a secretary of state for coming on two and a half years now. It’s been sport from the foreign policy establishment to talk about how this administration’s been going alone and we don’t collaborate with anyone. I could go through the list of places we’ve built out enormous coalitions, whether that was North Korea or Venezuela, many, many issues. We’re leading in the response to the COVID-19. We’ve spent far more money than any other nation in trying to help people in Central Asia, people in difficult parts of Africa respond to this in an intellectual way and an intelligent way and an effective way.

On this particular file, I think the tide has turned. I think the work that we have done to demonstrate to the world the threat that the Chinese Communist Party poses to them – it’s not about lobbying. It’s not about us – them saying, “Well, we’ll do that because the Americans are doing it.”

I’ll give you an example from the last 48 hours. The United Kingdom changed its policy with respect to its 5G technology. It didn’t do so because America browbeat them. It did so because it conducted a thorough analysis based on a set of information, some of which we certainly were helpful as part of the Five Eyes coalition to collect and disseminate. They looked at that and said for the British people we don’t want their private information – facial recognition issues, data issues – we don’t want that traveling across untrusted vendors. We don’t want the Chinese Communist Party to have that data in their hands. And on behalf of the United Kingdom people, the prime minister of the United Kingdom made a really good national security decision.

I’ll give you another example: India. We’ve been working closely with the Indians across a broad spectrum of the – the full range of international partnership with them to assist them in making sure they had all the information they needed to make good decisions. They made the decision that they were going to pull 50 or so Chinese applications off the systems that were operating inside of India. They didn’t do that because the United States told them to. They did it because they could see the threat to the Indian people from the Chinese Communist Party.

I think we are – I think we are watching the world unite to come to understand the threat from the Chinese Communist Party. I think you see it in how American businesspeople like you that are on this telephone conference with me – I think we’re watching American businesses understand the political risk of operating in places like Hong Kong, and they’re seeing that their supply chains are potentially being poisoned by the human rights violations – literally the stain of the century in human rights violations is taking place in western China today. I think American businesses are saying this is not a place that we are comfortable with, and I’m watching as they’re making different decisions about how to allocate capital inside of their business and inside of their supply chains as well.

This is all a response to the actions of the Chinese Communist Party, and I think so long as the Chinese Communist Party continues to engage in the activities that it’s been undertaking now for an awfully long time, you’ll see them confronted in ways that they have not been confronted before, not only by the United States but by freedom-loving democracies all across the world.

QUESTION: You mentioned Hong Kong, and of course the world has watched in astonishment at what has happened in Hong Kong. What would happen if they extended that kind of, let’s say aggressiveness, towards Taiwan?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, we’re in the realm of the hypothetical, but I will describe how we think about our policy there. So there are a set of commitments that the United States has made, a set of communiques, central understanding. We have the Taiwan Relations Act. All of those are things that are requirements, things we’ve agreed to do, and we’ll continue to live up to those. This administration has taken seriously its commitment to provide Taiwan with the tools that it needs for its own security. We saw yesterday, I believe it was, the Chinese threatened to sanction a major American defense manufacturer because they were so outrageous in agreeing to sell weapon systems to Taiwan that the United States has signed off on.

This administration has taken seriously its responsibilities to both China and Taiwan and will continue to do so. They’re different situations. The common theme is a Chinese Communist Party that has engaged in activity that I think no one 10 or 15 or 20 years ago would have anticipated they were willing to do. And for the first time, there’s an administration that is prepared to respond.

I get it. When I ran two small businesses – you can go online and Google it – I had an operation in Shanghai. It was tiny, it was small, we were a small business. It is so different today, the conditions on the ground are so different today inside of China that I think you’re going to see commercial enterprises re-evaluate their political risk not only in Hong Kong but in mainland China as well.