SECRETARY POMPEO: Greetings, everyone. How are you all?
QUESTION: We’re good. How are you?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m good, good. Got something I want to talk about. I know [Senior State Department Official] gave you a background briefing on the trip. I’m happy to talk about the stop here with Chancellor Merkel and Heiko and the team. This is very important. I regret we couldn’t do it when we were on the previous trip. And we got it fixed in a couple weeks, so I’m excited to get back and see them.
MS ORTAGUS: Okay, let me start with Francesco, then we’ll go around since we’re crowded.
QUESTION: How much Iran will be part of this trip in – mainly in Germany? And I know that they have a diplomat who just came back from Tehran.
And then in Switzerland, who represents the U.S. interests in Iran, how much will it be part of the conversations?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, I think there are a lot of – really just lots of issues with Germany, right? A broad relationship, long-time relationship, NATO partner, so Iran will just be some part of that conversation.
The same thing with Switzerland. They do important work. They are our protecting power both in Iran and elsewhere, and – but there’s lots of things to talk about.
QUESTION: Could they be one of the channels of communication you spoke about with Iran to speak de-escalation but also maybe discussion, conversations that the President seems to be willing to have with them?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m not going to talk about how we’re communicating or not communicating with them.
MS ORTAGUS: Okay, David.
QUESTION: You’ve got quite a long – thank you very much – you’ve got quite a long stop in Switzerland. Will you be —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Big cheese and chocolate fan.
QUESTION: Right. (Laughter.) Will Iran come up in conversation there? I mean, Switzerland has been involved in the Iran process in the past.
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m sure they will. I mean, they’re our protecting power. They have conversations with lots of countries around the – I’m sure that topic will come up.
MS ORTAGUS: Ed.
QUESTION: I was wondering how much will you discuss Huawei or Chinese technology and security issues with the various officials, either Germany or other of your —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Everywhere I go. Everywhere I go we talk about the opportunities and challenges that China presents not only to the United States and its security but to countries around the world. So it will be a topic. I can’t imagine a gathering with any of my interlocutors where China won’t be a significant part of the conversation.
MS ORTAGUS: James.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Good to see you again.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, very grateful to be with you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: I was a congressman from Kansas I think the last time you and I —
QUESTION: I think the last time we spoke, yes. A lot’s changed, huh? I also wanted to ask about Huawei and China in general. Are you finding that the disagreement over Huawei and the trade war are making it more difficult to secure Beijing’s cooperation on issues like North Korea?
SECRETARY POMPEO: No.
QUESTION: Why shouldn’t that be the case?
SECRETARY POMPEO: You asked if it’s happening. It’s not. Those conversations, especially North Korea – with North Korea in particular – I have found those discussions to be compartmented in the sense of we have a substantially overlapping interest, although perhaps imperfect but a substantially overlapping interest there, and I think everyone understands that that’s a real threat that presents risk to China as well.
And so I think they view that as something that matters to them. And so to date they’ve been a pretty good partner, not just in the conversations but on enforcement as well. They have done good work enforcing the UN Security Council resolutions. It’s not perfect. It’s not perfect anywhere. We’re always looking to do better with respect to enforcement. But they’ve been a very good partner on that issue even while there have been difficult conversations on trade taking place.
QUESTION: Is it safe to say that China is not asserting any linkage between the trade war or Huawei to any other sector of our diplomacy with them?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I mean, these are just – they’re different conversations. I’ll leave it that way. Does that make – does that answer the question at least in part, James?
QUESTION: Yes, thank you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.
MS ORTAGUS: Guy.
QUESTION: Hi, Mr. Secretary.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Hi. Good to see you.
QUESTION: Could you tell us a little bit about how you feel about Germany’s defense spending going into this? Is that going to be on the agenda? Are you going to ask them? They’ve increased a little bit. Maybe they’re going to get up to 1.35 or something. Are you satisfied with that and how does that (inaudible)?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Most importantly, the President is not satisfied with it. They made a commitment in Wales. They need to come up with a plan to get there, and I’m sure we’ll talk about that. But there’s lots of pieces to our defense relationship. It goes beyond just the resources allocated. I worked closely with them in my previous role, and so I know the important security partner that Germany is with the United States. We do need them to step up. They’re an important, big economy inside of the EU, and we need them fully engaged and devoting adequate resources to the protection of Europe.
QUESTION: Will you ask them to perhaps pay for troops plus half, the housing of U.S. troops?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m not going to get into details about what we’ll talk about. I’m just not doing that.
MS ORTAGUS: Jennifer, CNN.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the Ambassador Bolton has said he’s going to present evidence on these tanker attacks next week at the UN. Have you seen this evidence?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Oh, yes.
QUESTION: And what are the conclusions that you’ve seen?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, and Ambassador Bolton got it right. These were – these were efforts by the Iranians to raise the price of crude oil throughout the world.
QUESTION: And can you talk a little bit about this new human rights commission we’re seeing a report about in the State Department?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Tell me.
QUESTION: Politico reported that there’s some sort of a human rights —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Oh, yes, yes, yes. I’ve got it. Yes, yes. I was thinking of – I was thinking of the human rights report. Yes.
So it’s a commission. It was a project that I wanted to proceed on, and it’s an important review of how we think about human rights inside of our efforts in diplomacy. That is, how do we – how do we connect up what it is we’re trying to achieve throughout the world, and how do we make sure that we have a solid definition of human rights upon which to tell all our diplomats around the world how to engage on those important issues.
QUESTION: Is this separate from work that’s being done in DRL?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, this is a project that is separate from what’s going on in DRL, but it is deeply connected to the work that not only DRL does but that the entire State Department does around the world.
MS ORTAGUS: Okay. Thanks, guys.
QUESTION: Could I get one on UK? What will be your message and the President’s message to the next government in the UK about Brexit, about what is your stance on Brexit?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. My view is the good people of the United Kingdom are going to figure this out.
MS ORTAGUS: We’ll have more of these, guys. Thanks.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you all.