U.S. Department of State
MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE
JULY 15, 2020
HONG KONG EXCERPTS
QUESTION: All right, let’s get to some very serious stuff regarding China. Of course, we saw the President yesterday in the Rose Garden talking about our tougher approach. Why are we getting tough with China right now?
SECRETARY POMPEO: For now 40 years, Simon, the American people have been fed a bill of goods that if we simply engage with China, that they would leave us alone and behave in a way that was consistent with how other large nations behaved. That hasn’t happened. We thought they would open up politically. That was the theory of the foreign policy establishment. It didn’t happen. President Trump has recognized that now, the actions that General Secretary Xi, the leader of China’s Communist Party, is taking are really having an impact, whether that’s on Iowa farmers or manufacturers from the Southwest or citizens who are traveling to Hong Kong. The risk is increasing, and to our democratic allies in the region, the risk to them is increasing as well. And so President Trump has simply said we’re going to respond by the simple demand that they engage in trading relationships that are fair and reciprocal; that they – when they participate in international organizations around the world they’re going to do so in a way that is transparent and open, the way that democracies do; and that when they engage in behavior like they did around the virus that emanated from Wuhan, China, that’s now killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world and destroyed trillions of dollars in wealth and has got people that can’t go back to work, can’t go back to their churches – when that happens, we’re going to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for their errant behavior.
QUESTION: So the last time you and I spoke, I’m not sure if you’ll remember this, but it was right after you talked about the favored nation status – you took it away, literally the day you and I spoke. So he also went after Hong Kong yesterday because of the way the Chinese have been behaving.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So the Chinese Communist Party made a commitment to – both to the United Kingdom and to the people of Hong Kong, and indeed, to the world – this was an international treaty that said that there would be a separate system there in Hong Kong and that they would be guaranteed certain rights that weren’t available in other parts of China. Now the Chinese Communist Party has welched on that deal. They’ve declined to follow through on their promise. And so to the extent China treats the people of Hong Kong as it’s a single country, we’re going to do that too. The United States will no longer give preferential treatment to Hong Kong because, frankly, it’s just going to become another communist-run city and there’s no reason to live with the fiction of all the things that we have done alongside Hong Kong because they were a place with more rule of law, more democracy, more freedom. We’d given them a certain set of benefits that were different from the remaining people inside of China. That’s no longer true, so we’ll no longer treat them any differently than we do other people inside of China.
QUESTION: Because they were supposed to have – Hong Kong was supposed to have autonomy. It clearly —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, 50 years, roughly. Yes.
QUESTION: Yeah. Clearly doesn’t do that anymore. They don’t do it. So it makes sense that we don’t treat them differently, right?
SECRETARY POMPEO: That’s pretty straightforward. I think – I think everyone can understand that if it’s one country in the eyes of China, it ought to be one country in the eyes of the world and of the United States.