Asserting that there can be no compromise between freedom and authoritarianism, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has dismissed the argument that one must calm tensions and simply accept an increasingly belligerent Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
"My message today is this: We have to work together to continue the transatlantic awakening to the China challenge in the interest of preserving our free societies, our prosperity, and our future. It won't be easy," Mr Pompeo said in response to a question during his participation at the virtual Brussels Forum 2020.
"It's tempting for many, particularly in our business communities, who make money in China to say we must calm tensions and simply accept an increasingly belligerent CCP. That's nonsense. I don't accept that argument," Mr Pompeo said.
"There is no compromise between freedom and authoritarianism. I don''t want the future to be shaped by the CCP, and I''d wager no one on this call wants that either," he said.
As such, Mr Pompeo announced that the United States has accepted the proposal to create a US-EU Dialogue on China.
"I''m excited about this new mechanism for discussing the concerns we have about the threat China poses to the West and our shared democratic ideals," he said.
"My invitation to America's friends in Europe is to defend these values in our time, that they may shape the world for the good in the future just as they have done in the past. We''ll defend these values together," he said.
In his remarks, Mr Pompeo alleged that People's Liberation Army's is indulging in provocative military actions.
"They include its continued aggression in the South China Sea, deadly border confrontations in India, an opaque nuclear programme, and threats against peaceful neighbours," he said.
The CCP has broken multiple international commitments, including those to the WHO, WTO, UN, and people of Hong Kong, he alleged.
He also referred to the CCP's predatory economic practices, such as trying to force nations to do business with Huawei, which he said was an arm of the Chinese Communist Party''s surveillance state.
The Chinese Communist Party is also in violations of European sovereignty, including its browbeating of companies like HSBC.
"The United States is not forcing Europe to choose between the free world or China''s authoritarian vision. China is making that choice between freedom and democracy," he said.
Acknowledging that the US was slow to recognise the reality of the rising authoritarian regime and the implications it had on the free society, he said Europe too was slow. "But the CCP's coverup of the coronavirus, an outbreak that began in Wuhan, China - which has now killed tens of thousands of our people, and hundreds of thousands of people across the world - I think it's accelerated everyone's awakening," he said.
"Europeans, like Americans, are starting to find their voice. The Commission and the External Action Service last spring identified China as a 'systemic rival'' - a very important acknowledgment," he said, adding that the Lithuanian intelligence services'' National Threat Assessment identified China as a potential threat for the first time in 2019, and did so again here in 2020.
The G7 condemned China's national security law targeting Hong Kong, he said. "I greatly appreciated, too, how the EU has called out China for its disinformation campaigns surrounding the pandemic," he said.
It's also not just words, he said, highlighting that new Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China is gaining steam while the United Kingdom has taken a strong stand against the CCP''s intent to crush Hong Kongers's autonomy and the Czech Republic leading the charge in encouraging countries to adopt principles of secure and clean 5G networks.
"Clearly, there is a transatlantic awakening to the truth of what''s happening. Concerns are rightly growing about the CCP''s exploitation of multilateral bodies, too. To give you just a single example, Chinese leaders at the International Telecommunications Union and the International Civil Aviation Organization have leveraged their positions to advance China''s narrow interests," Pompeo said.
Certainly, the US and many of the free-world friends have differences on the subject of multilateralism, he noted.
"But we can all agree that these institutions should be rooted in democratic values, hew to their missions, and reflect the interests of all member states," he said.