In yet another push from the federal government to highlight the nefarious nature of communist China, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a radio interview on Saturday that the country's actions pose a real "risk" to the safety and security of the United States.
“The Chinese Communist Party working inside of their own country is one thing,” he told Breitbart News. “Their efforts to create control and influence around the world are quite another, and we have a responsibility to fix that. President Trump got this right in his campaign. He talks about it an awful lot."
Pompeo added, "But to your point -- your point about China’s efforts to use their wealth, state-owned enterprises, and their authoritarian regime in Africa, in the Arctic... sea lanes all around the world present real risk to the United States of America and to free nations."
He said the U.S. government wants the best for China's people but is continually having to work against the nation's government as it interferes with American interests at home and abroad.
“We are working to push back against that. We want good things for the Chinese people," Pompeo added. "We hold no brook against them. But the regime, the Chinese Communist Party itself, is acting in ways that are much to the detriment of the United States of America, and President Trump has made clear we’re going to make sure and protect to keep Americans safe and do everything we can to make sure that Americans can operate freely around the world in a way that is fair and reciprocal and equitable.”
This isn't the first time Pompeo has issued a stern warning for Americans to be on the lookout for Chinese subversion and misinformation.
“We can’t ignore China’s actions and strategic intentions," he said at the time. "The Chinese government has been methodical in the way it's analyzed our system... it's assessed our vulnerabilities and it's decided to exploit our freedoms, to gain an advantage over us at the federal level, the state level and the local level."
“Competition with China is happening. It’s happening in your state," Pompeo explained. "In fact, I'd be surprised if most of you in the audience had not been lobbied by the Chinese Communist Party directly."
He said groups loyal to communist China are operating out in the open in Virginia, Minnesota, Florida and dozens of other states, while also targeting college campuses and K-12 classrooms.
“Maybe some of you have heard about the time when the Chinese consulate paid the UC San Diego students to protest the Dalai Lama," Pompeo continued. “It shows depth. It shows systemization. It shows intent.”
China has faced heavy criticism for its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, triggering a congressional investigation into what the government knew, and when it knew it.
A probe by the Senate's Homeland Security Committee, led by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is seeking to uncover who should be held responsible for the deadly pandemic that has already claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Americans.
"We have failed to call out China for who they are -- call out these international organizations for who they are, and you see Democrats out there trying to defend the WHO. It's the craziest thing in the world," Scott told Fox News during an exclusive interview earlier this month.
The Florida Republican added: "We have to remember -- every time I talk about China I say, remember it's Communist China, run by the Communist Party of China. Don't ever forget who they are. You may have friends that live in Communist China but they aren't the ones running the country. The Communist Party runs the country. They make all these decisions and they're anti-American, they want world domination. They're not a competitor, they are an adversary now."
The country's state media apparatus took aim at Scott and several other Republican lawmakers on Thursday, issuing veiled threats under the guise of "sources," who threatened to retaliate against any American politician if they took a hardline stance against China.
An article posted by the Global Times, which is a branch of the Communist Party of China's (CPC's) People's Daily, said the nation is "extremely dissatisfied with the abuse of litigation" by U.S. leadership, "and is considering punitive countermeasures against U.S. individuals, entities and state officials."
Chinese representatives have also gone on record saying they will not allow international investigators to probe the origins of COVID-19 until the outbreak is fully defeated.
In addition to its lack of transparency with regard to the coronavirus, the State Department has also publicly acknowledged that China may be conducting secret nuclear tests, which would be a violation of an international agreement banning such actions.
A State Department report on compliance with arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament, first obtained by the Wall Street Journal last month, found that China may be conducting the tests within the northwest region of the country, using low explosive power.
The report didn't prove any wrongdoing on the part of the Chinese but still raised red flags.
"Some compliance concerns are raised and some findings of violations are made," the report read.
It went on to cite further concerns about China's possible violation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) by engaging "in biological activities with potential dual-use application."
"We know that this virus originated in Wuhan, China," Pompeo has told "The Story."
"We know there is the Wuhan Institute of Virology just a handful of miles away from where the wet market was. There is still lots to learn. The United States government is working diligently to figure it out."
Fox News' Rich Edson contributed to this report.