United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with British officials on Tuesday as geopolitical tensions continued to rise between Western nations and China.
Pompeo praised the United Kingdom for imposing tough countermeasures against China and appealed for a global “coalition” to combat Beijing.
At a press conference following his meeting with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Pompeo delivered scathing comments on China over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic, suppression of freedom in Hong Kong and efforts to “bully” their neighbors.
“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the British Government for its principled responses to these challenges,” said Pompeo, “We support those sovereign choices; we think well done.”
In recent weeks, the UK has adopted a more confrontational attitude toward China, implementing moves to phase out Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from its 5G network, suspend its extradition treaty and arms exports to Hong Kong and open up pathways to citizenship for Hong Kongers.
While he applauded the British government for standing up to China, Pompeo also took things a step further, calling for the rest of the international community to unite against China.
“We think that the entire world needs to work together to ensure that every country, including China, behaves in the international system in ways that are appropriate and consistent with the international order,” he said.
“It’s not about language. It’s not about words … we want every nation to work together to push back against the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts in every dimension.”
However, some have criticized the UK’s recent actions against China, accusing them of pandering to the US.
Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to Britain, had previously urged the UK not to “dance to the tune of the Americans” or interfere with their internal affairs.
Ahead of Pompeo’s meeting with the UK government, Liu also took to Twitter to warn of a “resolute response” should the UK impose sanctions on Chinese personnel.
In response to such allegations of submission to US pressure, Raab insisted that the UK had not been coerced into any choices.
“The reality is as a result of U.S. sanctions, we’ve, of course, got to look with a clear-sighted perspective at what that means and we’ve taken a decision based on that,” said Raab. “But I don’t think there’s any question of strong-arming.”
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