QUESTION: Joining me right now in a first-on-Fox interview is the Secretary of State of the United States, Mike Pompeo. Mr. Secretary, it’s always a pleasure to see you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Great to be with you this morning, Maria.
QUESTION: Thank you so much for joining us. The IP theft issue is something we’ve spoken about before. How do you change something that’s really engrained in a country’s culture? Do you think the U.S. is going to be able to come up with some kind of an enforcement mechanism to put in place so that the Chinese keep their promises of not stealing from the West?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, Maria, this is a challenge. It’s why the negotiations have taken as long as they have, and why we’re not complete yet. President Trump has, for the first time, called out China for this theft of intellectual property, hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars stolen by the Chinese over the past decades. President Trump is addressing it. The work that’s being done is about this enforcement mechanism. What is it you do if they don’t live up to the word? We’ve seen the Chinese enter into deals before where they didn’t follow through. And the mission that Secretary Mnuchin, Ambassador Lighthizer have is to get this deal done in a way that, after the deal is done, after the signing ceremony, American companies can count on the fact they can do business in China without substantial risk their IP will be stolen, and if it is, they will have a tool to recover for that loss.
QUESTION: And that’s why the President has been using tariffs as the leverage.
SECRETARY POMPEO: As a proxy, as leverage, yes, to get them to come to the table and take seriously this fundamental obligation for engaging in commerce with the American business community and with American citizens.
QUESTION: And there’s more to it. I mean, we’re trying to do a deal with a country that is just absolutely the opposite of our culture, right, I mean, when you look at the human rights abuses, for example, in China. Talk to us a bit about this police state that they have created in terms of, for example, rounding up Chinese Muslims. They’re saying that it’s for vocational training, and yet there are officers with guns and barbed wire around these vocational training centers for Muslims.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Maria, there’s a long history of China not abiding by its constitution, which says people can practice their faith, in China’s own constitution. And yet today, they’ve rounded up close to a million Muslims, Uighurs, in one part of their country, treating them horribly. They say they’re reeducation camps, but they, frankly, won’t let people in to see what’s truly going on there – very limited access to this. I met with four Uighurs last week in my office. One of them —
QUESTION: These are survivors of these camps or whatever they call them.
SECRETARY POMPEO: These are – some of them were survivors, some of them have family members in those camps. One of them, after our meeting, had his aunt and uncle rounded up and taken to a camp in China. This is the kind of thing that they do to impact his behavior, his – he’s here in America – to impact his behavior here in America. It’s unacceptable. They need to let this aunt and uncle – his mother is in a camp as well. She needs to get her U.S. passport back. This kind of behavior, these human rights abuses, are tragic, they’re historic, and President Trump is taking on each of these challenges.
QUESTION: So is this part of the discussions in terms of this near-term trade deal? What’s the discussion with the Chinese in terms of the broader issues, not necessarily a quid pro quo on a trade deal?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So the trade deal has its own conversation, its own dialogue that’s taking place, but it’s against the background of all of these other broader issues: issues with China’s use of technology in ways that will fundamentally put Americans at risk, this technology from Huawei that is now being put in place all across the world. It’s a company that’s very close to the Chinese Government and will do what the Chinese Government asks it to do. And so we have sounded the alarm urging nations, security apparatuses from around the world, not to put this technology. And the challenges with China are manifold, and we’re approaching each of them, sometimes in separate silos, but often as part of a broader conversation with China, asking them to engage in trade and conduct and human rights, and human rights activities that are consistent with the values that Americans hold dear.
QUESTION: Yeah, and when you came back from your Europe trip, which was really an important trip, when you were in Poland, we talked about this and how you were getting a little pushback from the European nations. You broke news on this program when you said, look, we will be forced to share less information with those countries that are using Huawei telecom. What’s your take on what Italy has done, signing a memorandum of understanding with China? I understand that may not include technology in telecom. What’s your take on China’s relationship with Italy?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I was with the Italian foreign minister yesterday. He was in town for the celebration of NATO’s 70th anniversary, and we had a conversation about this. I think each of the European countries, including Italy, is working its way through this problem set. I think they now have become aware of the risk to their own people, not only directly from the technology but the risk that America won’t be able to work as closely with them, something they often count on and depend upon. I think what we’ll see is we’ll see European countries begin to take this threat very seriously, and I think we’ll make real progress at protecting citizens around the world from the threat of a Chinese surveillance state, Chinese technology inside of these networks.
QUESTION: Look, I mean, the world wants to get into China. We know that, right. 1.4 billion people, they want a chance to sell to their – to those consumers, but there are real risks here. So is that understanding – that partnership between Italy and China, does that exclude telecom? Does that exclude technology?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I don’t know the details of what’s in their agreement.
SECRETARY POMPEO: It is the case, Maria – we want to trade with China too.
QUESTION: Yeah, exactly.
SECRETARY POMPEO: I want Americans businesses to thrive and flourish and engage in commerce. We have deep economic relationships with them that are of real value to American consumers. This is what President Trump’s trade negotiations are about. He wants that to be fair; he wants that to be reciprocal. He wants American businesses to have a fair shake when we deal with China, not have to worry that if they do a deal, they’re going to give up the seed corn of their business.
QUESTION: The President made a big deal of the fentanyl agreement with the Chinese, that they are going to promise that they’re going to classify all classes of fentanyl. Let’s watch this closely and tell me what your thoughts are here, because I guess there was one issue that the Chinese say that fentanyl is used in a lot of things, including fertilizer. How do you make sure that fentanyl is not coming over the border, because isn’t this the synthetic precursor for opioids?
SECRETARY POMPEO: It is. This is a very important issue. The commitment that President Xi made to Trump was a very important commitment. Now China needs to follow through on it. We’ve seen some progress, some administrative progress inside of China. We hope they’ll deliver on this. The President’s down at the border today. One of the elements of the crisis that’s down there – we see it in the human suffering that takes place along the border that President Trump is so focused on – but he’s also focused on narcotics, drugs that are coming across the country. This fentanyl that comes from China often is trafficked through Mexico across that very border. It’s one more reason we have to get control of the crisis that’s at our border today.
QUESTION: Yeah, let me ask you about the border, because the President is planning to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to these three Central American countries in retaliation for what he’s calling their lack of help in cutting the flow of migrants to the U.S. border. What’s your take on this? I mean, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, already very weak countries. Foreign assistance programs are critical for them. Is this going to work? Is this another threat or how significant is this?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Maria, many of the illegal crossers today, those who are coming across our border illegally today, are coming from the three Northern Triangle countries, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. We’ve been working with those countries. State Department, DHS have been working with those countries. There are two pieces to their effort. One is will – are they willing to help us? Are they willing to stop people from leaving the country? The second is capacity. We’ve given them hundreds of millions of dollars over the past years to create the capacity for them to do so. They have not demonstrated the will, the willingness to actually engage in stopping these caravans from coming across their border.
Our mission, by telling them that this aid will be conditioned on the change in their behavior, is to convince them that they ought to have the will, that they need to try, they need to work at it. We’ll work with them to build out their capacity to do so, but we have not yet seen enough demonstration of their commitment to actually preventing these folks from crossing into Mexico and making this dangerous trek across Mexico, and then coming unlawfully into the United States.
QUESTION: Well, there are a lot of pushback around this from the administration because the number of apprehensions are soaring. Why has the number increased so much? Is the word getting out that the —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.
QUESTION: — U.S. has porous borders, let’s go there now and let’s make believe we’re families?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, I think it’s always about incentives, right? What’s the risk, what’s the cost, and then what’s the opportunity when they come into the United States? What’s their opportunity versus what they’re facing wherever it is they live, whether that’s in Mexico or in the Northern Triangle? Mexico tried to keep them in Mexico by providing some forms of visas. I think that created a further incentive for them to leave Guatemala or Honduras or El Salvador and go to Mexico, and then they realized they wanted to make the transit into the United States.
We have to stop that. We have to control our border. President Trump’s going to go down there today and talk about the tools that we have at our disposal to do that. What we ultimately need is Congress to change the laws so that we can return these individuals who aren’t here properly under asylum back to the country from which they came.
QUESTION: Yeah, the President’s using every leverage point that he can, and I get that. He’s talking now about tariffs on cars coming out of Mexico, but does that contradict with the USMCA deal? I mean, we had Senator Capito here earlier – Capito, rather, pardon me – and she said, look, I’m going to support this deal, but I know that a lot of Democrats have come on this program and said we’re not going to support it. Now the President’s talking about new tariffs on cars coming out of Mexico.
SECRETARY POMPEO: We are trying to create the conditions at the border that will keep Americans safe, that will reassert American sovereignty along our southern border and the President’s using every tool in his kit. He’s also trying to convince Congress to take this threat seriously. We’re now seeing members of Congress from both sides of the aisle acknowledge the crisis, acknowledge that we are now in the thousands of people coming across that border each day with narcotics and trafficking in persons also coming across that border.
What we need Congress – once they’ve recognized there’s a crisis, we need them to change. These are simple changes to the law. They could do them today. They need to move. It’s time. This crisis – the American people aren’t going to stand for this and President Trump is using every tool in his kit to try and change the incentives, change the behavior so that we can reduce the risk here in the United States.
QUESTION: He sure is, and the President is also using the tariffs threat quite effectively with the Chinese. Do you expect that the President will likely leave those tariffs in place that are currently there for China?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I think he’s hoping what he gets is a real deal, an enforceable deal along not just the amount of trade to make that fair and reciprocal, an important component, but also to protect from illegal theft of intellectual property, technology transfer that is forced. If he gets that size of a deal, I’m confident the President will say that’s fair. Our tariffs are equal, we’re operating in a reciprocal trading arrangement, let’s go and compete and have a great relationship commercially between our two countries.
QUESTION: On the IP theft, the White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow this week said that China is finally acknowledging the issues around intellectual property theft. This is the first time they’re doing this, I think so, because they were consistently denying that they were even stealing, right?
SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s a good first step. It doesn’t seem like much —
SECRETARY POMPEO: — to you and I to acknowledge something that is patently true that we’ve known about for decades but no president was prepared to take on. But yes, their acknowledgment that there is a problem that this is happening is a good first step because absent that, if they don’t understand what’s happening, won’t acknowledge that, then it’s really hard to fix and it is impossible to enforce. And so they have made real progress. There’s still work to do. It’s why the President said yesterday we don’t have a time just set to resolve this, but the team is hard at work and we hope China’s negotiating in good faith to get to the right resolution.
QUESTION: How worried are you about the agricultural situation and the fact that there’s swine flu going on there, the fact that China produces and consumes 50 percent of the world’s pork and yet 20 percent of their hogs are diseased?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, it’s a real challenge for China. They have real risk that they’ll have a supply shortfall. We hope we get an opportunity to sell good old Iowa hogs and hogs from the United States of America into this.
QUESTION: Yeah, I think they’ve got 100 million dead hogs to dispose of.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.
QUESTION: It’s pretty extraordinary. Mr. Secretary, I want you to stay with us because you have been doing such an incredible job across the world. You said at the start of your term you wanted to get the State Department’s swagger back. You certainly have and yet one group is dissing you this morning. We’re going to come back and talk about that.
More with Secretary Mike Pompeo when we come right back. Stay with us.
QUESTION: Welcome back, and back with me in a first-on-Fox interview is the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And Mr. Secretary, I was thinking about this yesterday. China has 1.4 billion people. The U.S. is 320 million or something. I mean, it’s a much larger country. They want to be number one. They’ve got their Belt and Road Initiative. Is it just a matter of time that China will be running the world, China will overtake the United States in a number of areas?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Maria, I don’t remotely believe that.
QUESTION: No? Okay.
SECRETARY POMPEO: It depends on decisions we make. Are we prepared to engage with them, confront them when they behave in ways that are malign? Are we prepared to do the things we need to do at home? President Trump has reduced regulations, allowed our economy to grow, all the things that create wealth for the United States. Are we prepared to underwrite our military the way President Trump has so that we can keep our country secure?
If we do those things, we will have partners around the world who want to be part of Western values, who want to be part of our democracy. They live in a nation with a very different value set. I am bullish on America. If you’re betting, you should bet on us.
QUESTION: Yeah, I would bet on America too. Even as the Chinese are putting military bases across the world, we have the strongest and best military in the world —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, ma’am, no doubt about it.
QUESTION: — on the planet. Look, you’re doing so much, Mr. Secretary, and we can’t even get into every issue today from Russia, to ISIS, to across the world, Venezuela. And because of all of this, the world thanks you for your efforts and how hard you’re working. You were honored with the James W. Foley American Hostage Freedom Award, and earlier this week, they are basically taking the award back. They are saying the freedom award that was given to you is going to be taken back. It was named for the journalist beheaded in 2014, but it’s because of complaints from media critics of the administration prompting this hostage rights group to withdraw this historic freedom award. What do you say to that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So it was very unfortunate. I was set to receive an award on behalf of the State Department, the good work that this administration has done to bring back hostages. We work on this issue every day and we’ve brought back now almost two dozen Americans who were detained. Those families – I was with them. I had a big group of families, families whose children had not been returned, families whose children were still detained, and then a group from 1979 of people who had been held by the Iranians back when our embassy was captured in 1979. We work on this every day to get every American back. President Trump is so focused on this. And so I was very proud that President Trump’s work and the work that the State Department had done was going to be recognized with this award. I regret that there was pressure applied by the media for that award to be withdrawn.
QUESTION: As soon as it was announced, then it’s withdrawn. What did they say to you in terms of why they’re pulling this award?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, I don’t know the details of what took place, but I think the moderator didn’t want to be around this administration. I think some of the folks who were underwriting the dinner didn’t want to be part of it. From my perspective, I just regret it. Diane Foley, who runs this organization, had her son beheaded, and she has worked so hard on behalf of getting Americans home to continue to give back to this nation. I just so regret this took place. The work that this administration has done will continue.
Award or no award, we’re going to keep working at this problem, and every family out there today that has one of their family members detained should know that the United States is hard at work, even as I sit here, to get them back. Whether it is Bob Levinson, who’s the longest-held person in Iran, or any of the others, we’re going to work to get them back and I am confident we’ll be successful.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you for all of your work.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Maria.
QUESTION: We appreciate you joining us this morning. That was really an injustice to you. Secretary Mike Pompeo joining us there.