NEW DELHI: In a statement that pitches the US as a factor in the India-China military face-off, secretary of state Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that China’s “threats to India” and Southeast Asia were among the main reasons for the US’s move to reduce its troops in Europe.
The decision to draw down troops in Germany was part of a well-thought out strategy because they were being moved to other places, Pompeo told the Brussels Forum. US President Donald Trump recently announced that the US would be reducing troops from Germany, a decision that’s angered EU countries.
The actions of the Chinese Communist Party, Pompeo said, meant there were “threats to India” and countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and the South China Sea. “We are going to make sure we are postured appropriately to counter the PLA. We think that is the challenge of our time and we are going to make sure we have resources in place to do that,” he said.
Pompeo’s marking out of China’s threats to its neighbours as a priority represents a significant policy statement and security posture.
US, EU to start dialogue on threats from China: Pompeo
Running through a list of aggressive Chinese actions, Pompeo spoke about the “bloody border confrontation with India”, Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea and its predatory economic policies. He also announced that the US and the EU would start a dialogue on China and the challenges it poses. It would help the trans-Atlantic alliance to build a “common understanding of the threat posed by China”. Pompeo said the two sides needed “a collective data set” on China’s actions so the two could take action together. Europe is often accused of being “naive” about China, taking a much more benevolent attitude to China’s designs.
Asked whether Huawei was part of the Chinese “surveillance state”, he said Chinese security forces personnel worked on the top floor of the company headquarters and Chinese law required Huawei to pass any data, including personal, to the Chinese Communist Party whenever the latter asked.
On Wednesday, Pompeo had flagged what he called “clean telcos”, that is, companies that were “free” of Chinese influence. “The tide is turning towards trusted 5G vendors and away from Huawei. The world’s leading telecom companies — Telefonica, Orange, Jio, Telstra and many more — are becoming ‘clean telcos’. They are rejecting doing business with tools of the CCP surveillance state, like Huawei,” he said.