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Pompeo to Levin: 'Tide Has Turned' on Nations Recognizing China as a Threat

By Lucy Collins | September 28, 2020 | 1:04pm EDT
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference at the State Department on Apr. 29, 2020. (Photo credit: ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference at the State Department on Apr. 29, 2020. (Photo credit: ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNS News) -- China poses the "greatest external threat" to the United States, but the "tide has turned" with nations that now recognize the threat that the Chinese Communist Party poses to "their freedom, their liberty, [and] to their sovereignty" Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News host Mark Levin on Sunday night's "Life, Liberty, & Levin."

“The greatest external threat that the United States faces over the medium and long term is the threat by the regime in China today, the Chinese Communist Party led by General Secretary Xi Jinping,” Pompeo said to Levin.

Levin then asked the secretary about what the Trump Administration has done to combat this problem. 

“The first thing we spent time doing was getting our house in order," the secretary of state responded. "We were pushing back against essentially 50 years of U.S. policy with respect to China since Nixon and Kissinger had gone to Beijing back in the early 1970s where there was the theory of the case was we just do more business with them, if we open up they'll become less hostile, less hegemonic in their desires, and less authoritarian internally."

"That failed."

“When I travel through the region and I asked them 'tell me what the practical impacts of [Obama-era foreign policy] were, what you saw on the ground,' privately, they chuckle” Pompeo explained. “There was nothing behind it; it was rhetorical. This administration has actually done it.” 

Below is a transcript of this segment:

Mark Levin: What is the greatest threat we face? Is it the communist Chinese regime right now?

Secretary Mike Pompeo: The greatest external threat that the United States faces over the medium and long term is the threat by the regime in China today, the Chinese Communist Party led by General Secretary Xi Jinping.

Levin: And, from what I read and you deal with it first-hand, they’re aggressive on all fronts: the cultural front where they buy into our universities, they steal our proprietary information and our technology, they have spies roaming throughout this country, as well as technological efforts that are made. You can see them geopolitically even in our own hemisphere, in Africa now, in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the South China Sea. They're massively building up their military. You see this, the president sees this. What have you done? What has the president done to confront this? 

Pompeo: A lot. The first thing we spent time doing was getting our house in order. We were pushing back against essentially 50 years of U.S. policy with respect to China since Nixon and Kissinger had gone to Beijing back in the early 1970s where there was the theory of the case was we just do more business with them, if we open up they'll become less hostile, less hegemonic in their desires, and less authoritarian internally. That failed, and the president intuited that, he talked about it as early as 2015 during his campaign. We began to build out inside the State Department, inside the Department of Defense, all the levers of economic power that the United States can bring to bear a strategy that would begin to cease the appeasement -- turn the other cheek -- there has been an exception mark: Every country would have the same rules and then there'd be a set of rules for China, and we've undone that, we've flipped the switch on that, so I could give you lots of tactical examples but maybe the most important thing that we've done is we've shown a light on this risk. The first step in every 12-step-program is to recognize that you have a problem, and I have traveled the world making sure that every nation understands that this is a problem that is not between the United States and China. This is a challenge to make sure that the next century is not the Chinese century, it is not the century governed by authoritarian repressive regimes, but rather by regimes that believe in the rule of law and ordered liberty and national sovereignty as their core foundations. And so, we've made real progress. You can see it from Africa to Southeast Asia to South America. You can see those countries now recognizing the threat that is posed to their freedom, their liberty, to their sovereignty that the Chinese Communist Party poses, and we have now begun to build out this global coalition to push back. It will take years; we sat on this for five decades, it'll take years to accomplish this, but we have turned the corner. I believe that the tide has turned in terms of the recognition of the threat that this authoritarian regime in China presents. 

Levin: You think the prior administration understood the threat of communist China? 

Pompeo: No. 

Levin: And so you've basically had to reverse course? 

Pompeo: Yes, remember, Mark, they talked about their pivot to Asia? I will say, when I travel through the region and I asked them 'tell me what the practical impacts of that were, what you saw on the ground,' privately, they chuckle. There was nothing behind it; it was rhetorical. This administration has actually done it. You can see it in how Pacific Fleet and the Indo-Pacific operates; you can see it how our diplomats in the region operate; you can see actual activity to support the objectives that the president has laid out.

Lucy Collins is a CNSNews intern and a student at Columbia University.

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