Top US diplomat Mike Pompeo offers unsparing criticism of the Chinese Communist Party while visiting London and pledges to build a global alliance against Beijing.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the United States wants to build a global coalition to counter China as he accused Beijing of exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to further its own interests.
Pompeo cast China as an aggressor on Tuesday, saying it had made illegal martime claims, bullied Himalayan countries, covered up the coronavirus outbreak, and exploited it to further its own interests in a "disgraceful" way.
"We hope we can build out a coalition that understands the threat and will work collectively to convince the Chinese Communist Party that it is not in their best interest to engage in this kind of behaviour," Pompeo told reporters in London alongside British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
"We want to see every nation who understands freedom and democracy ... to understand this threat that the Chinese Communist Party is posing to them."
Pompeo offered no evidence of how China had exploited the coronoavrius.
US hails UK's Huawei purge
Pompeo also discussed ways to tackle the growing might of China when he met Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, just a week after London ordered a purge of Huawei gear from its 5G mobile phone network.
Pompeo, after discussing China in the garden of Downing Street with Johnson, said it was a constructive visit.
"Our two countries’ long-standing, strong bilateral relationship has laid the foundation for today’s candid discussion on issues ranging from 5G telecommunication to our negotiations for a US-UK free trade agreement," Pompeo said.
US pressure on UK?
President Donald Trump lauded Johnson's ban on Huawei, claiming that he had forced London's hand due to concern over China, which he considers to be the United States' main geopolitical rival of the 21st century.
Britain has denied that it made the decision because of US political pressure.
As Britain toughens its stance on China due to its handling of the novel coronavirus and a crackdown in Hong Kong, Pompeo's visit is seen as an attempt to stiffen Johnson's resolve and dangle the potential reward of a post-Brexit free trade deal.
Five Eye nations
Johnson and Pompeo also discussed the "importance of working together with 5 Eye countries on the technologies of the future" – referring to the alliance of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand with the UK and US – according to a government statement.
Raab said Britain, the United States, and other allies needed to stand up for their values on the international stage.
"The UK is really clear that we need to work with our American friends, and also with other partners together in the international system to protect our freedoms and interest and stand up, as we've shown over Hong Kong, stand up for our values," he said.
Beijing says the West, and Washington in particular, is gripped by anti-Chinese hysteria and colonial thinking about the communist state.
China, whose $15 trillion economy is five times the size of the United Kingdom's, says the decision to exclude Huawei, the world's biggest telecoms equipment manufacturer, will hurt Britain's economy, set back trade, and discourage investment.