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Commentary: Openly mistrustful of CCP, Secretary Pompeo determined to encircle China

By Hiroyuki Akita, Nikkei commentator


In the interview with Nikkei, Secretary of State Pompeo clearly demonstrated a policy of the encirclement by friendly nations of China, which is expanding its influence. The foundation of this policy is a strong mistrust of the communist party system. The U.S. and China’s struggle for leadership in the Indo-Pacific is expected to intensify even further.


It is notable that in place of “Chinese government” Secretary Pompeo consistently used “Chinese Communist Party” in his remarks. Underlying his choice of words is the idea that the nature of the communist party itself is the root of all the evil behind China’s persistent actions in cyberespionage, military buildup, and human rights abuses.


The Secretary’s choice of words suggested a view that the communist party is evil.


For example, the Secretary stated that the security framework in the Indo-Pacific will be institutionalized to “counter the challenge that the Chinese Communist Party presents.” The Secretary warned that personal data may be stolen and fall into “the hands of the Chinese Communist Party” if Chinese companies are not excluded from major infrastructure.


If the U.S. administration sticks to the theory that communism is evil, there will be little room for compromise with China on individual issues, which will only lead to a further escalation of the U.S.-China conflict. Secretary Pompeo is acting quickly to encircle China with the above scenario in mind.


Japan, Australia, and India are cooperating with the U.S. because these countries are increasingly concerned about China’s aggressive actions in the Indo-Pacific. The U.S. is set to approach South Korea and Southeast Asian countries to expand the four-nation cooperation into an Indo-Pacific security framework. The outcome of that approach is unpredictable, since the economies of many Asian countries rely heavily on China.


Although Secretary Pompeo is the current administration’s leading anti-China hawk, the Democratic party shares a hardline stance toward China. The COVID-19 pandemic reinforces this stance. Even if a “Biden administration” were launched in January 2021, the U.S.’s posture toward China would not be expected to undergo significant change.

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