US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that he had a very frank discussion with his Chinese counterpart Wang Jiechi about the “unprovoked aggression” by Beijing on a number of fronts.
During the meeting in Hawaii last week, Mr Pompeo said he also pressed for “more transparency” from China on the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic for the good of the world.
The meeting which was kept under wraps till the meeting day, took place amid tensions between China and the US on a range of issues.
“I met with Yang Jiechi last week in Hawaii. We had a very frank discussion about the Chinese Communist Party’s unprovoked aggression on a number of fronts and I pressed him for more transparency on COVID for the good of the world,” Mr Pompeo told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.
“We’re concerned by Beijing’s behaviour and we’re not the only ones. And he and I talked about that. Our friends and partners are finding their voice and taking action to counter China”s malign activities, particularly in Europe,” he said.
US President Donald Trump has announced a number of retaliatory measures against China last month, slamming China for imposing a controversial national security law on Hong Kong that undermines the autonomy of the former British territory.
The top US diplomat has led Trump administration officials in criticising Beijing for a lack of transparency and disinformation campaign on the coronavirus since it emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
American officials have indicated that Washington intends to punish Beijing over the spread of the pandemic that has hit America, making it the worst affected country with over one lakh deaths.
Last week, Mr Pompeo criticised the Chinese Army for “escalating” the border tension with India and militarising the strategic South China Sea. He also described the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) as a “rogue actor.”
In a scathing attack on the Chinese government, Mr Pompeo said that the Communist Party of China wants to undo all the progress the free world has made through institutions like the NATO and adopt a new set of rules and norms that accommodate Beijing.
“The PLA (People’s Liberation Army) has escalated border tensions with India, the world”s most populous democracy. It”s militarising the South China Sea and illegally claiming more territory there, threatening vital sea lanes,” Mr Pompeo said, a day after he expressed deep condolences to India on the death of 20 soldiers in violent clashes with the PLA troops at the Galwan Valley in Ladakh on June 15.
China’s official Xinhua news agency reported last week that Yang and Pompeo agreed to take action to implement in earnest the consensus reached by the heads of state of the two countries and maintain contact and communication.
Yang conducted in-depth exchanges with Mr Pompeo on China-US relations as well as global and regional issues of mutual concern, the report said.
Both sides fully expounded their respective stances and deemed the dialogue to be constructive. They agreed to take action to implement in earnest the consensus reached by the heads of state of the two countries and maintain contact and communication, the report added.
Yang is a member of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee.
China’s government-controlled media has attacked Pompeo as “evil,” “insane” and an “enemy of mankind” for accusing Beijing for trying to mislead the world about the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak.