Pompeo demands more assertive U.S., allies on 'Frankenstein' China

Credit: REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

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WASHINGTON, July 23 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took fresh aim at China on Thursday and said the United States and its allies must use "more creative and assertive ways" to press the Chinese Communist Party to change its ways.

In a speech at the Nixon Library in President Richard Nixon's birthplace in Yorba Linda, California, Pompeo said the former U.S. leader's worry that he had created a "Frankenstein" in opening the world to China's Communist Party in the 1970s had been prophetic.

Nixon, who died in 1994 and was president from 1969-74 opened the way for the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with Communist China in 1979 through a series of contacts, including a visit to Beijing in 1972.

In a major speech delivered in the wake of Washington's surprise order to close China's Houston consulate, Pompeo repeated frequently leveled U.S. charges about China's unfair trade practices, human rights abuses and efforts to infiltrate American society.

Pompeo said China's military had became "stronger and more menacing" and the approach to China should be "distrust and verify," adapting President Ronald Reagan's "trust but verify" mantra about the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

"The kind of engagement we have been pursuing has not brought the kind of change inside of China that President Nixon hoped to induce," Pompeo said.

"The truth is that our policies – and those of other free nations – resurrected China’s failing economy, only to see Beijing bite the international hands that were feeding it," he said.

"We, the freedom-moving nations of the world must induce China to change ... in more creative and assertive ways, because Beijing’s actions threaten our people and our prosperity," Pompeo said.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool)

((david.brunnstrom@thomsonreuters.com; +1-202 354 5835; Twitter: @davidbrunnstrom; Reuters Messaging: david.brunnstrom@thomsonreuters.com@thomsonreuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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