Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, amid a new cold war with China, issued a rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party and the nation that unleashed the global coronavirus pandemic on the world, declaring a half-century of diplomacy has failed.
"The old paradigm of blind engagement with China simply won't get it done," Pompeo said in a speech Thursday at The Richard Nixon Library & Museum in Yorba Linda, California. "We must not continue it and we must not return to it.
"As President Trump has made very clear, we need a strategy that protects the American economy and indeed our way of life. The free world must triumph over this new tyranny."
Pompeo sounded the alarm on the ways China's relationship with the United States has deteriorated since the days of former President Nixon.
"We imagined engagement with China would produce a bright future with promise of comity, and cooperation," Pompeo said. "But today, we're all still wearing masks and watching the pandemic's body count rise because the CCP failed in its promises to the world.
"We're reading, every morning, new headlines of repression in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. We're seeing staggering statistics of Chinese trade abuses that cost American jobs and strike enormous blows to economies all across America, including here in Southern California.
"And we're watching a Chinese military that grows stronger and stronger and indeed more menacing."
The U.S.-China relationship was reset about 50 years ago with good intentions, but ultimately it has become abusive, according to Pompeo.
"The truth is that our policies – and those of other free nations – resurrected China's failing economy, only to see Beijing bite the international hands that were feeding it," Pompeo said.
"We opened our arms to Chinese citizens, only to see the Chinese Communist Party exploit our free and open society. China sent propagandists into our press conferences, our research centers, our high schools our colleges, and even our PTA meetings."
China's aggressions must be dealt with now, Pompeo said.
"Whatever the reason, China today is increasingly authoritarian at home, and more aggressive in its hostility to freedom everywhere else," he continued.
"President Trump has said: Enough."
After outlining the specific Chinese abuses of their relationship with the U.S. and the world, Pompeo said "we'll keep talking, but the conversations are different these days."
"President Reagan dealt with the Soviets on the basis of 'trust but verify,'" Pompeo said. "When it comes to the CCP, I say, we must 'distrust and verify.'"
Pompeo called on other nations to join the U.S. in holding China accountable, and "doing what America has done – to insist on reciprocity, transparency, and accountability from the Chinese Communist Party."
"Now, it's true, it's difficult for some small countries," Pompeo said. "They fear being picked off. Some of them, for that reason, they don't have the ability or courage to stand with us for the moment.
"Indeed, we have a NATO ally of ours that hasn't stood up in the way that it needs to with respect to Hong Kong, because they fear Beijing will restrict access to China's market. This is the kind of timidity that will lead to historic failure.
"And we can't repeat it. We cannot repeat the mistakes of these past years."
Pompeo added a call for "a new alliance of democracies."
"If the free world doesn't change, Communist China will surely change us," he added. "There can't be return to past practices, because they're comfortable, or because they're convenient.
"Securing our freedoms from the Chinese Communist Party is the mission of our time, and America is perfectly positioned to lead it because of our founding principles give us that opportunity."
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