Pompeo: US not pursuing ‘cold war’ against China
WASHINGTON: The United States on Friday (Saturday in Manila) insisted it was not pursuing a new “Cold
powers could only paper over deep differences during high-level talks.
The defense chiefs and top
countries met in Washington for a regular dialogue that had been pushed back amid months of spiraling tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
After President Donald Trump’s barbed comments against China in the runup to this week’s congressional elections, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo turned conciliatory in tone if not always in substance.
“The United States is not pursuing a Cold War or containment policy with China,” Pompeo told a joint news conference.
“Rather, we want to ensure that China act responsibly and fairly in support of security and prosperity in each of our two countries,” Pompeo said.
But Pompeo also was upfront about US concerns. While the Trump administration has generally been soft-spoken on human rights, at least with allies, Pompeo denounced China’s “repression” of religious and minority groups including the Uighur community, citing a UN report that up to one million members of the mostly Muslim ethnic group have been rounded up in detention camps.
And on Taiwan, while assuring his guests that the United States only recognizes Beijing, Pompeo was increasingly forthright in advocating for the self-ruling democracy, criticizing Beijing’s efforts to isolate the island it considers a renegade province.
The United States also took Beijing’s military to task over its assertive posture in the dispute-rife South China Sea, which has witnessed a series of incidents including the buzzing of a US Navy surveillance aircraft last year by a Chinese warplane.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the talks were “candid” but that the two militaries looked to improve communication and avoid “miscalculation” at sea.
“And we made clear that the
sail and operate wherever international law allows,” Mattis said.
Yang Jiechi, a veteran architect of Beijing’s foreign policy, insisted that China allows freedom of religion and criticized the United States for what he saw as its own “militarization” of the South China Sea.
“There is no such problem of freedom of navigation and over-
this issue as an excuse to military
“The Chinese side made it clear to the United States that it should stop sending its vessels and military aircraft close to Chinese islands and reefs and stop actions that undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests,” he said.