US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday criticized British bank HSBC for its announced support of China’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, saying it is a “show of fealty” which has earned the bank “little respect” in Beijing. He also said that the US stands ready to help Britain with alternatives and stands with its allies and partners against “the Chinese Communist Party’s coercive bullying tactics.”
This very US secretary of state seems to have become addicted to confronting China and he could not spend a day not finding fault with China.
But what is disgusting is that Pompeo always labels China what the US is most fit for. Which country habitually adopts coercive bullying tactics? How many countries are under sanctions imposed by the US and how many countries has the US threatened with sanctions?
The US’ European allies have the right to say which country, China or the US, is coercing them with regard to Huawei’s involvement in 5G development in their countries.
Beijing did not say it would retaliate if they didn’t use Huawei equipment, while it is Washington that publicly threatened to stop intelligence sharing with them. The threats from the US ambassador to Germany have irritated German opinion several times. Has Pompeo forgotten all these?
Washington must be clear that its overall strategic suppression of China is driven by its geopolitical selfishness. Such selfish interests are by no means equal to the interests of the rest of the Western world. Many of the US demands go against the interests of US allies, and the US is using coercion, rather than moral appeal or cohesion of interests, to force these countries to cooperate with it.
China’s political system is different from that of the Western world, and divergences on values exist between the two. But these divergences should not necessarily be turned into Western countries’ sense of threat from China. China adopts relatively mild foreign policies and has shown restraint toward conflicts. It is always willing to strengthen cooperation to ease divergences.
Although some Western countries have doubts about China, they are not a major obstacle for cooperation between China and these countries.
On the contrary, a powerful China adds to their alternatives in international relations, and cooperation with China can help them win respect from Washington.
Under such circumstances, as the US forces its allies to pressure China, just as Australia has been ordered to do, many of them will feel dissatisfied, or even irritated. They do not want a deadlocked relationship with China or stand on the opposite side of China. It is Washington that adopts international coercion.
On Monday, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Rabb had a phone call with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. What Rabb said shows that London is keen to keep China-UK relations advancing and the UK does not want to “decouple” from China. China-UK relations are complicated, but the two are definitely not in a confrontation similar to the one between the UK and the former Soviet Union.
No matter how hard Pompeo pushes, he will never build an anti-China alliance. The impact of Washington’s coercion will be limited. Humanity has long been tired of major power confrontation, and the US is only coercing itself by going against the trend.