SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning, everyone. Good to be with you all today. I want to start my remarks, as I often do, on matters relating to China.
As many of you saw, I met with Yang Jiechi last week in Hawaii.
We had a very frank discussion about the Chinese Communist Party’s unprovoked aggression on a number of fronts and I pressed him for more transparency on COVID for the good of the world.
We’re concerned by Beijing’s behavior and we’re not the only ones. And he and I talked about that. Our friends and partners are finding their voice and taking action to counter China’s malign activities, particularly in Europe:
Within the past week, I spoke to EU foreign ministers and also to a democracy forum in Copenhagen. They clearly recognize the threat that China poses to the free world and to the rule of law.
After the EU-China Summit this week, both President Michel and President von der Leyen publicly echoed many of the concerns that I’ve expressed previously.
While I was meeting with Yang, the G7 released a statement condemning Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong.
The world’s leading telecom operators – including Spain’s Telefonica, as well as Orange, O2, Jio, Bell Canada, Telus, and Rogers, and many more – are becoming “Clean Telcos.” Disconnecting from the Chinese Communist Party infrastructure.
They are rejecting doing business with tools of the CCP surveillance state, companies like Huawei.
I’ll speak more about how we’re working to consolidate Europe’s awakening to the folks at the German Marshall Fund in just a few days.
It’s all good to start, but we have to keep at it. The empty promises and tired platitudes of the Chinese Communist Party put forth at last week’s China-Africa Summit won’t create the free and prosperous future that the African people deserve.
And the U.S. will keep speaking up for the Chinese people, too. Last week, CCP authorities sentenced human rights lawyer and defender Yu Wensheng to four years in prison.
We continue to call for the release of all of those justly imprisoned in China for exercising their basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Last item on China – a positive one, in case you all think I only criticize them:
The CCP is raising the protected status of pangolins and removing them from its official list of animals used for approved traditional medicines. I think that’s great news. I called on the CCP to take similar steps to respond to other endangered species and shut down high-risk wildlife wet markets permanently.
Moving on, today I have Nathan with me. We’re releasing our annual Country Reports on Terrorism. I hope everyone sees that this administration has taken on terrorist threats that other administrations simply downplayed:
We designated the IRGC, including its Qods Force, as a terrorist organization, the first time the authority has ever been used on a foreign government.
We kept pressure on Iranian proxies like Hizballah by encouraging our partners to designate or ban them, as Paraguay, Argentina, and now the United Kingdom did just last year.
Last year, too, we held the first of two ministerials focused specifically on counterterrorism in the Western Hemisphere. No administration has forged closer ties in our hemisphere and alliances working on important problems like counterterrorism as we have done.
The Defeat ISIS Coalition has – remains strong. It has completed the destruction of the so-called physical caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
And thanks to our great U.S. military, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.
Now, to be clear, there’s still counterterrorism work to do: ISIS and al-Qaida branches and affiliates in Africa; Venezuela and Cuba cozy ties with terrorists; and increasing ELN attacks in Colombia are problems that remain.
But we’re undaunted in our pursuit of bringing terrorists to justice.