US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday warned Europeans they are abandoning democracy if they embrace China, in a scathing denunciation of Beijing two days after he held talks on trans-Pacific friction.
“There’s also no way to straddle these alternatives without abandoning who we are. Democracies dependent on authoritarians are not worthy of the name,” Pompeo told a forum in Denmark by videoconference.
Pompeo was speaking publicly for the first time since meeting for nearly nine hours Wednesday in Hawaii with a top Chinese official, Yang Jiechi, on the soaring tensions between the United States and China.
In his speech, Pompeo indicated that the meeting did little to change his hawkish views on China, which he called a “rogue actor” on the world stage.
He renewed calls on Europeans to shun Chinese telecom giant Huawei, which he called the arm of the communist “surveillance state,” and said Beijing was “flagrantly attacking sovereignty” through its port investments in Greece and Spain.
“We must take off the golden blinders of economic ties and see that the China challenge isn’t just at the gates -- it’s in every capital,” he said.
“Every investment from a Chinese state-owned enterprise should be viewed with suspicion.”