US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he raised China’s “coercion” of Australia during a frank, six-hour meeting with China’s top diplomat in Hawaii.
Mr Pompeo said he confronted Yang Jiechi with a list of China’s actions around the globe, including hitting Australia with steep barley tariffs and banning beef exports from four abattoirs after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison “had the audacity” to lead global calls for a COVID-19 probe.
Mr Pompeo said he made the point to Mr Yang in Honolulu on Wednesday the US was no longer just listening to what China was saying, but was watching its actions.
“We can see their actions,” Mr Pompeo, speaking at the virtual Copenhagen Democracy Summit, said on Friday.
“I ticked through a few of them: Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang, what they’re doing in India, what they’ve done in the economic zones along the Philippines and Malaysia and Indonesia and Vietnam, the coercion on Australia – when they had the audacity to demand that there would be an investigation of how this virus got from Wuhan to Milan, how this virus got from Wuhan to Tehran, how this virus got from Wuhan to Oklahoma City, and to Belgium and to Spain, and decimating the global economy.”
Mr Pompeo said China lied about the coronavirus, let it spread to the rest of the world and pressured the World Health Organisation to assist in a cover-up campaign.
“Even now, months into the pandemic, we don’t have access to a live virus, we don’t have access to facilities, and information about patients in December in Wuhan remains unavailable,” he said.
Mr Pompeo also accused China of saddling developing nations with debt and dependency and pushing disinformation and malicious cyber campaigns to drive a wedge between the US and Europe.
“Everyone in this room knows that the Chinese Communist Party strong-arms nations to do business with Huawei, an arm of the CCP’s surveillance state and it’s flagrantly attacking European sovereignty by buying up ports and critical infrastructure,” Mr Pompeo told the summit.
Australian Associated Press