Pompeo updates China-US relation in press availability

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Visit India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Indonesia

Pompeo: Look, today I want to talk about a number of multilateral initiatives that we’re advancing here at the State Department.  We’re cooperating with our partners and allies and friends across the world in unprecedented ways.  It’s been a hallmark of the administration that frankly deserves more attention.

Look, it starts with working to go out and meet with these people.  This Sunday I’ll depart for India, for Sri Lanka, for the Maldives, and then on to Indonesia.  On every stop I will discuss a broad range of bilateral topics, but also work to find out with each of those countries the best ways that we can make sure that we cooperate to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific.

I’m especially looking forward to doing that with Secretary Esper and our 2+2 ministerial dialogue with our Indian friends.  It’s been postponed because of the virus.  I’m glad we’re going to be able to execute that in person here in just a few days.  I’m sure that my meetings will also include discussions on how free nations can work together to thwart threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party.

US-EU dialogue on China and the environment

Pompeo: This Friday the EU High Representative Josep Borrell and I will launch the U.S.-EU dialogue on China.  I’m confident that the discussion will deepen our long-term engagement with EU friends on this important issue.

For instance, Europeans are concerned too about the environment, just as we are.  Just this week, the CCP issued a “fact sheet” that was – “fact sheet” is in quotes – a “fact sheet” trying to divert attention away from its own horrific environmental record.  Let me give you a few real data points.

The PRC is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, bar none – number one.  The PRC is indeed responsible for an estimated 30 percent of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans – more than any other country.  The PRC is the world’s largest consumer of illegal wildlife and timber products – again, number one.  PRC-flagged or owned vessels constantly fish illegally or overfish in waters under the jurisdiction of other coastal states, in particular in Africa, Asia, and in South America.

Designate 6 Chinese media as foreign missions

Pompeo: We’re pushing back on the Chinese communist propaganda efforts here at home, too.  Today I’m announcing the State Department is designating the U.S. operations of six China-based media companies as foreign missions.  They are all substantially owned or effectively controlled by a foreign government.  We’re not placing any restrictions on what these outlets can publish in the United States.  We simply want to ensure that American people, consumers of information, can differentiate between news written by a free press and propaganda distributed by the Chinese Communist Party itself.  They’re not the same thing.

Over the past decade, and particularly under General Secretary Xi Jinping’s tenure, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has asserted greater control over China’s state-backed propaganda outlets while trying to disguise them as independent news agencies.  General Secretary Xi himself has stated, “Party-owned media must. . . embody the party’s will, safeguard the party’s authority … their actions must be highly consistent with the party.”  While free media around the world are beholden to the truth, PRC media are beholden to the CCP.  Today, the United States is publicly recognizing that reality through these designations.

Pursuant to authorities under the Foreign Missions Act, the State Department is issuing today a new determination that designates the U.S. operations of Yicai Global, Jiefang Daily, Xinmin Evening News, Social Sciences in China Press, Beijing Review, and Economic Daily as foreign missions.  These six entities all meet the definition of a foreign mission under the Foreign Missions Act in that they are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by a foreign government.  In this case, they are effectively controlled by the government of the People’s Republic of China.

On technology

Pompeo: I’d also like to note last week President Trump released the National Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies.  It outlines fundamentally how the United States will maintain global leadership in conventional weapons, artificial intelligence, semiconductor, and space technologies.  Our competitive edge in each of these arenas is all the more important as the Chinese Communist Party and Russia seek to supplant America as the leader in these fields.

On relation with Taiwan

Pompeo: I don’t have anything new to announce with respect to our desires and hopes for Taiwan, and our expectation is that the Chinese Communist Party will live up to the commitments that they have made.  It always comes back to this with the Chinese Communist Party: They’ve made promises, they’ve made commitments to the world.  We’ve seen them break them just about everywhere.  Right, we saw the promises they broke to the people of Hong Kong.  We saw the promise they made to President Obama that they wouldn’t put weapons systems in the South China Sea.  They turned around and built out.  I could go through the list of things that they have promised to do.  They have promised to make available to the world enough information so that we could figure out how the heck the Wuhan virus got out, and they have continued.

So as for Taiwan, our policy hasn’t changed.  I hope that the Chinese Communist Party will choose to honor its commitments as well.

Also last week, U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer and I and Ambassador Joseph Cella virtually signed an agreement with Fiji that opens the door to regular talks between the United States and Fiji on our growing commercial relationship.  Contrast that with the activity that took place early this month when Chinese diplomats appeared uninvited at an event organized by the Taipei trade office in Fiji.  They started taking pictures of guests, were asked to stop, and then got into a fight, a brawl, resulting in one of Taipei trade office staffers suffering a head injury.  We wish our Taiwanese friend a healthy, safe recovery.  This isn’t, unfortunately, the first time we’ve heard allegations of Chinese diplomats behaving inappropriately.

Source: US State Department
Press Briefing
October 21, 2020

Edited by staff

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