Washington is pressuring Beijing to act like a “normal nation” on the world stage, Mike Pompeo has repeated, accusing China, ironically, of disregarding international laws and seeking to impose “decades of pain” around the globe.
“We’re very worried that China will put the people in many countries around the world, in Africa and Central America and Latin America, in a debt trap that will cause those countries decades of pain,” the Secretary of State said on the Laura Ingraham Show, stressing that Donald Trump’s administration is the first one to recognize the danger, one which it is more-than-willing to tackle.
China is probably, over the long term, the biggest challenge, national security challenge that faces our country.
For the US, among the biggest threats posed by China is the theft of intellectual property, which Trump has vowed to root out, Pompeo reiterated. Conveniently unsealed on Tuesday, charges by the Justice Department against a group of Chinese intelligence officers who allegedly tried to steal US aviation secrets is the latest “mosaic of our strategic effort” to push back against Beijing, the diplomat noted.
Implementing its vision of “fair and reciprocal trade” with China is also one of the main objectives the White House is currently pursuing. China’s growing economic might around the globe amid the ongoing Sino-American trade war remains a major concern, Pompeo pointed out.
To battle the Chinese threat, the US will continue to engage in a “multi-pronged effort” to force it to “behave like a normal nation on commerce and with respect to the rules of international law,” Pompeo stated.
China’s direct investment in Africa has grown significantly over the years, especially in Algeria, Zambia, Kenya, Republic of Congo, and Nigeria. While there is no official Chinese data, around $143 billion in loans were also extended by the Chinese government, banks and contractors to African nations this century, the China Africa Research Initiative estimates. Beijing has also directed $250 billion in direct investments to the Latin American and Caribbean region (LAC) between 2015 and 2019, in addition to about $500 billion in trade.
The Sino-American trade conflict entered a new stage after tit-for-tat tariff hikes, targeting in total some $260 billion-worth of bilaterally traded goods, came into force in September. While Trump threated more tariff measures to fix last year’s $375 billion trade deficit with the world’s second-biggest economy, the US has steadily been agitating Beijing closer to its shores, challenging China’s sovereignty claims over Taiwan as well as South China and East China Seas, through the ‘freedom of navigation’ principle.