Pompeo: China is bent on Western 'destruction'

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared the Chinese Communist Party's recent actions show that its officials are actively seeking to harm the U.S. and its Western allies, but expressed optimism that the Trump administration and Europe are up to the task of countering them.

Pompeo told Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures" that President Trump is ready to respond to China's aggression, which he said has ramped up over time.

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"So it's a different Chinese Communist Party today than it was 10 years ago," Pompeo said. "And I think the remarks that President Trump gave on Friday of this past week reflect that this is a Chinese Communist Party that has come to view itself as intent upon the destruction of Western ideas, Western democracies, Western values. It puts Americans at risk."

Pompeo was referring to Trump's remarks from the White House rose garden Friday, in which he called out China for a variety of actions that he said were against U.S. interests, including allegedly covering up details surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, stealing intellectual property, and actions in the South China Sea.

"The United States wants an open and constructive relationship with China, but achieving that relationship requires us to vigorously defend our national interests," Trump said. "The Chinese government has continually violated its promises to us and so many other nations."

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Trump, like Pompeo, also mentioned intellectual property theft, and announced that in response to China's treatment of Hong Kong, the U.S. will make policy changes to remove special treatment they once afforded to Hong Kong due to the special status it once enjoyed under a Chinese agreement.

"We treated Hong Kong more favorably than we did China for all of those years because of that treaty," Pompeo said Sunday. The Chinese Communist Party has now broken its promise and the United States will respond. As a practical matter, the president laid out a couple of things that we will do. He's asked us to review every preferential treatment that Hong Kong had and work to eliminate. It no longer makes sense if the Chinese are going to treat Hong Kong the same way that they treat mainland China, there's no basis for the United States to treat it differently as well."

Pompeo said he believes that European allies will see that it is in their best interests to keep China in check, whether it is due to information theft or how countries like Italy and Spain have been hit by COVID-19.

"I think the populations in those countries are now seeing most clearly the risk the Chinese Communist Party presents," Pompeo said. "This is what authoritarian regimes do. They steal information. They deny freedom of expression. They oppress their peoples and they present risk to people all across the world. Democracies behave completely differently. And I think the people of Europe will come to see that along with the United States, we can work together to build our economies, to protect our people and to keep the entire world in a place where the Chinese Communist Party does not dominate the next century."

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Pompeo also expressed hope that the Trump administration will receive assistance from Congress, as dozens of bills have been introduced to counter China.

“Many of these are bipartisan bills. This is something that I think people all across the political spectrum understand is a real risk," he said.

While Pompeo would not predict which of those bills will ultimately turn into law, he was confident that members of Congress will put differences aside to hold China accountable.

“I know that they will. It’s bipartisan, I’m heartened by that," he said.

Earlier in the interview, Pompeo weighed in on the violent protests taking place in the U.S. in the aftermath of George Floyd's death following an encounter with the Minneapolis police.

President Trump has blamed Antifa for the wave of violence and announced that the group will be designated as a terrorist group. While Pompeo called rioters "Antifa-like," he did not place blame on any particular group.

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"Well, I think it still remains to be seen exactly how what began as peaceful protests by people who were clearly saddened and frustrated by the police action against George Floyd," he said. "I don't know precisely how it proceeded to get this way, but we've seen this pattern before where outsiders come in. We've seen some of the mayors talk about the fact that they've had people travel from outside of the communities to really do the destruction and destroying small businesses, the life savings of owners of those small businesses."

Pompeo called Floyd's death a "tragedy," and said the Minneapolis police's actions were "abhorrent."