Pompeo: China will ‘pay a price’ for coronavirus pandemic

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he thinks the world will make China “pay a price” for the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think the world will absolutely make them pay a price,” Pompeo told The Hill during a virtual summit.

“Every place I go, every foreign minister that I talk to, they recognize what China has done to the world,” Pompeo said. “I’m very confident that the world will look at China differently and engage with them fundamentally different than they did before this catastrophic disaster.”

The coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, has caused a global pandemic infecting nearly 13.5 million and killing 581,097 people.

The Trump administration has suggested for months that they may take steps to punish China for their lack of transparency surrounding the outbreak of the virus.

Pompeo Wednesday echoed this sentiment in saying that the Trump administration’s policy regarding China is “to make sure we have a fair and reciprocal set of relationships with the Chinese Communist Party.”

Pompeo has been vocal in his criticisms of China, and the administration has made several pronouncements this week that put strain on an already tense relationship — including the legislation that President Trump signed on Tuesday, imposing sanctions on China for their interference in Hong Kong autonomy.

Pompeo also criticized China over its actions in the South China Sea and accused them of conducting a “campaign of bullying to control” offshore resources and energy development.

The secretary’s comments were the first time the U.S. has challenged China’s legal authority in the region, calling their actions “completely unlawful.”

“America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law,” Pompeo said.

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China further retaliated against U.S. involvement in the area by placing sanctions on Lockheed Martin Corp. after a proposal for missile sales to Taiwan was approved by the Department of Defense and the State Department.

“We had an American company conducting business that was consistent with American foreign policy,” Pompeo told reporters Wednesday.

“I regret that the Chinese Communist Party chose to make that threat against Lockheed Martin.”

Pompeo also applauded the U.K.’s decision this week to rescind their agreement on partially working with Huawei to develop their 5G capabilities, a move directly related to pressure from the U.S.

U.S. security officials had previously warned their British allies that they would likely sever all intelligence sharing practices should the U.K. foster a relationship with the Chinese telecommunications company.

“This is a Chinese Communist Party that is acting in a way that poses real threats to the world, and the United States is going to respond in each of those venues to make sure that we preserve American national security and impose costs on the Chinese Communist Party in order to achieve the change in behavior that will have a good outcome,” Pompeo said Wednesday.

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