By Kazuhiro Maeshima, professor at Sophia University
The basic stance of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in his latest speech remained unchanged from a year ago, but I have the impression that he criticized China in a stronger tone. He put a pressure on China by bringing up specific examples, such as the detention of members of an ethnic minority group in China’s Uighur autonomous region.
It appears that the speech was strategically timed for the eve of interaction between Washington and Beijing at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit slated for November. The speech was intended to draw responses from China on such issues as the impasse in the U.S.-China trade war and China’s hegemonic activities in the South China Sea.
Pence supported Hong Kong in regard to the protests triggered by a bill to revise the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance. In his speech, the vice president underscored that the U.S. is founded on democracy and sent a message to the Chinese government to respect human rights and desist from oppression.