Secretary of State Mike Pompeo adjusted an old Reagan axiom for dealing with the Soviet Union and applied it to the Communist-led government during an interview Monday with Newsmax TV, suggesting when it comes to leaders in Beijing, the United States should "distrust" but verify.
The Chinese Communist Party has lied about multiple issues, including about freedoms to the people of Hong Kong and to the World Health Organization about reporting any virus with a potential to cause a pandemic, Pompeo told "Spicer & Co." host Sean Spicer.
"You have to distrust them. You have to challenge everything that they say," Pompeo said. "You need to go verify it when they make a promise. And when they do that, when they make a commitment and when they verify it, we'll applaud them, but we'll no longer stand by and allow them to take action to threaten us all."
"We're going to distrust, and then we're going to go verify," the secretary said. "And we aim to induce change in the Chinese Communist Party. It's that straightforward. The American people deserve it, and our national security demands it."
Fifty years of being nice and doing business while hoping they left us alone has not worked, Pompeo said, noting that President Donald Trump made a point of taking on Chinese leadership in his 2016 campaign.
"He said, 'We just want this to be fair. We don't mean anything to be ill-will toward the Chinese people. But the Chinese Communist Party's been walking on the United States for decades, and we're not going to let that happen. Enough!'"
Recent actions such as shutting down the Chinese Consulate in Houston, which American officials say was being used to spy on American tech companies, and Trump's threat to shut down the Chinese-owned phone app TikTok in the United States unless the U.S. division is sold to an American company, are intended to send Beijing a message.
Actions will also be taken in response to the arrest of Hong Kong pro-democracy tycoon Jimmy Lai and the sanctions placed Monday on American officials in Congress, Pompeo said.
"You can be sure that the United States will measure them, respond to them, and help the Chinese Communist Party understand you're not going to take action against America or Americans without President Trump responding."
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