BEIJING (AFP) — Beijing slammed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday for a speech it said “viciously attacked” China, after Pompeo called China “truly hostile” to the United States.
In the latest hawkish take on China by President Donald Trump’s administration, Pompeo on Wednesday called Beijing “truly hostile” to the United States, and vowed to ramp up pressure on China on multiple fronts.
In response, Beijing rounded on his comments Thursday, which it said revealed “arrogance and fear.”
“This deliberate distortion of the facts and slandering of China’s domestic and foreign policies fully exposes the deep political bias and anti-communist mindset of a small number of U.S. politicians,” said foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.
“Pompeo’s speech viciously attacked the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government,” Geng added.
In his talk at the conservative Hudson Institute in New York, Pompeo highlighted China’s clampdown on Hong Kong protests and incarceration of Uighur Muslims, and said Beijing was seeking international domination.
Rights groups say more than 1 million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic minorities have been rounded up in internment camps in Xinjiang.
After initially denying their existence, Beijing now defends the camps as “vocational education centers” that counter religious extremism and terrorism.
“The Chinese Communist Party is offering its people and the world an entirely different model of governance — it’s one in which a Leninist party rules and everyone must think and act according to the will of the Communist elites,” Pompeo said.
“That’s not a future that I want … and it’s not a future that the freedom-loving people of China” want, he said.
At a dinner attended by Henry Kissinger, the apostle of realpolitik, who negotiated the United States’ normalization of ties with Beijing, Pompeo said Washington had long been too easy on China in hopes that it would transform.
“Today we’re finally realizing the degree to which the Chinese Communist Party is truly hostile to the United States and our values,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo nonetheless said that the United States did not seek confrontation, but wanted to encourage a more “liberalized” China.
His remarks come amid a simmering trade war between the two countries, which has left economists worried about global economic growth.
© Agence France-Presse