An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

QUESTION:  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in New York City today to formally inform the United Nations Security Council of the restart of some sanctions, snapback sanctions, against Iran.  These are related to the 2015 nuclear deal with that country.  America says Iran is in violation of the deal.  As you know, the U.S. itself abandoned it about two years ago.

Secretary Pompeo joins us now.  He’s a trooper.  We persevered, Mr. Secretary.  It’s good that we finally have you.  I think it’s Zoom at this point.  We want to talk about – (laughter) – it’s good to see you.  Thank you for hanging in there with some technical difficulties.

Anyway, we’ll get to the Iran sanctions in a moment, but first I want to ask you about the latest with China – the U.S.-China Trade Deal Phase One, the prospects for Phase Two – and then I want to ask some additional – get some additional color on whether we ever have good relations again with such an important trading partner given the rhetoric on both sides.  But where is Phase One?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Thanks for having me on.  I’m glad we were able to make it work.  It’s good to be with you all this morning.  As for the Phase One trade deal, the Chinese have done some of the work they need to do on the purchasing.  They have committed to continuing to fulfill that obligation, but you have to remember there’s a lot of obligations that go far beyond just purchasing American products.  There’s a whole other set of chapters associated with that.  We hope that the Chinese Government will comply with them.  They promised us that they will.  We’re following it closely.  We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

As for the follow-on, there’s not a lot of prospect at this point, but I hope the Chinese Communist Party will conclude that you can’t keep stealing American property, can’t keep destroying American jobs.  This is what the President’s been focused on in this trade deal.  We’re always ready to sit down with them and try and work our way through a deal that is good for the American people.

QUESTION:  Do you have a – do you have a prediction on what finally happens with TikTok and what exactly that means if it is sold in the next few weeks?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  I do have a prediction.  I predict that TikTok will no longer share its private information that belonged to the American people with the Chinese Communist Party.  I am confident that they won’t be doing that when this is over.  I don’t know how it ends, I don’t what the conclusion is, but the American mission, the mission of our national security team, is to make sure that America’s private information isn’t shared with the Chinese Communist Party’s intelligence services.  And I promise you, when we get to the end of this, that won’t be happening.

QUESTION:  It – when – just getting down to real brass tacks and then we’ll get to Iran, and I know my co-anchors want to ask some questions too, Mr. Secretary.  But will we ever have a relationship with China that both countries would like to have with the current regime?  You’ve had such tough talk, given some tough speeches, and there’s no reason to think that the CCP is going to really change its stripes, I don’t think.  Are we in a permanent sort of a Cold War with China at this point that’s going to last for years and years?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Well, the problem isn’t my speeches or the President’s efforts; the problem lies with the Chinese Communist Party.  You know this.  This has been decades of Americans turning the other cheek, not doing what they needed to do to protect the American people.  The previous administration just simply refused to tackle this problem from China.  We’ve taken it head-on.  We continue to work to try and find a way forward.

In the end, the Chinese Communist Party will get to make that decision.  To date, they’ve shown no evidence of the central understanding that if you want to be a world power, if you want to participate on the global stage, you can’t engage in the kind of predatory economic activities that the Chinese Communist Party has been in engaged in for far too long, and we’re not going to let it happen on our watch.

QUESTION:  How do you – getting to Iran, why now for the restart of all the sanctions, the previous sanctions?  Why no support from Europe?  I mean, I can cynically figure out why, I guess.  But you say behind the scenes you got a lot of support in the Middle East from our – some of our friends there and maybe even not so great friends.  But no cooperation from Europe.  Why not?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  You’ll have to ask the Europeans that.  I have not had a single world leader or one of my counterparts tell me that they think it makes any sense at all for the Iranians to be able to purchase and sell high-end weapons systems, which is what will happen on October 18th of this year absent the actions that we took at the United Nations yesterday.

So President Trump is determined.  We’re not going to let them have a nuclear weapon, we’re not going to let them have hundreds of billions of dollars in wealth from selling weapons systems.  Every leader around the world knows it’s a bad idea.  Don’t forget, just this year, this is the regime that shot down a commercial airliner.  At first they denied it, then they said they did it, then they wouldn’t give up the black box.

So this is – this is a regime that remains the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.  We’re not going to let them in October of this year, as Secretary Kerry did under his foolish nuclear deal, allow them to begin to buy and sell weapons in a handful of days.  That’s just nuts.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, good morning to you.  Good to see you.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Good morning.

QUESTION:  I wanted to go back to TikTok.  I mean, clearly the focus here has been on TikTok and Huawei before that, and I was wondering why exactly the level of focus on them.  Is it because of stock-specific, management-specific things at those companies that you don’t trust, or should we expect that if any Chinese company gets to that scale of penetration in the Western world, in the U.S., that they would also start to go into the phase where the U.S. would want to try and ban them?  Is it any Chinese company that has that sort of reach?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  That’s a great and important question.  We haven’t focused on any particular company.  We’ve focused on technologies and the Chinese Communist Party.  Our focus has not been to go after any Chinese company because of their commercial success; it’s been to go after Chinese Communist Party entities, or commercial entities being driven by the Chinese Communist Party, that present national security risks to the United States of America.

So your question says will there be other companies that follow?  I hope not.  I hope the Chinese Communist Party will disconnect and not operate the way they do.  But to the extent – and I anticipate this will be the case – that they continue to demand that every state-owned enterprise, every Chinese company is beholden to their security apparatus, then we’ll continue to go after them to make sure that the American people have the security levels that they have an expectation of with respect to not only technology firms, but every company operating here in the United States.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, there’s a lot of talk about obviously not just selling the U.S. part of TikTok, but it tends to be reported as plus Canada, plus New Zealand, plus Australia, and that those four countries’ exposure of TikTok would be what is carved out and sold off.  Why those four countries?  If it’s Five Eyes why isn’t the UK part of it?  If it’s non-Chinese U.S. allies, why isn’t Europe part of it?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  I appreciate that.  Look, I don’t want to talk about the commercial transaction, I want to talk about protecting Americans.  So that’s our effort.  Our effort is to make sure that when you have networks, you have information that passes across international networks all across the world; we are attempting to identify where those risks are, where these untrusted vendors might operate, and making sure that we take that risk down.  And that’s the mission set.  That’s the mission set in our conversations with TikTok.  It’s our conversations with every Chinese company that is connected to the Chinese security apparatus.  Your listeners have to know:  This is a serious effort; this is a serious risk.  President Trump is serious about making sure we protect our information, our networks, and the American people.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, there’s – you’re busy.  You probably didn’t get to see a lot of the convention.  I don’t know if you saw Vice President Biden’s speech last night.  But just as an American, I’m trying to figure out: if Joe Biden were to win the presidency, what happens with the sanctions?  Do they go back off?  Do we try to resurrect that deal that the Europeans seem to want to cling to, the – with – that we had with Iran?  What happens with China?  What should we expect, although I – as you know – have they mentioned China at all during the convention?  I’m not sure where they stand on that.  But regimes do change.  What would the future look like, do you think, Mr. Secretary?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  I’ll just take them at their word.  They have completely ignored the threat from the Chinese Communist Party, not only during their convention but for the eight years that they were in office.  So if history is a predictor of how they’ll behave, the Chinese Communist Party would welcome the departure of the national security team that’s surrounding President Trump that is aimed squarely at protecting the American people.  We can do what we can do on our time in service, our time on our watch.  We’ll keep after it.

QUESTION:  What would you foresee in terms of Iran?  I mean, the —

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Yeah, it’s the right question.

QUESTION:  That deal is not salvageable, is it?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  It’s the right question.  I can’t imagine that it would – it’s not salvageable, not because of anything that we did.  It’s not salvageable because the – this is a regime that’s engaged in terror for 40 years now.  This is a regime that continues to build out its nuclear capabilities.  This is a regime that improves its missile program, even during the time that this nuclear deal was in place.  This is a regime that threatens the – threatens Europe.  It’s conducted dozens and dozens of efforts inside of Europe to kill people.  I hope the Europeans, I hope the whole world will come to see that it’s not enough to say, boy, you wish the arms embargo were extended, but to actually take actions that will deliver security outcomes for their people.  I can’t imagine any administration that would see it any different from President Trump with respect to securing the American people from the threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran.

QUESTION:  Let’s go – let’s look at the flip side.  Let’s say the President wins re-election.  What should China think about listing companies here or IPOs or Alibaba or any of the other – Huawei?  What do we do with – to ensure that we have chips and materials from Taiwan?  I mean, do we become closer to Taiwan?  They wouldn’t like that.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  This is really easy.  If the Trump administration has four more years, the Chinese Communist Party should begin to behave like a normal nation with respect to their economic activity around the world.  They should allow the United States to invest in China on the same terms that Chinese companies can invest in the United States.  They should conduct trade relationships in a way that are fair and reciprocal.  They should put tariffs on that are balanced and even.  They shouldn’t steal our stuff, jobs, from places like my home in Kansas, where manufacturers invent things, create things, patent things, and then the Chinese Communist Party just rips them off and then turns around and sells them back to us in a subsidized way.  If we’re on watch for four more years, we will continue to urge the Chinese Communist Party to simply engage in economic activity on a fair and level playing field.  That would be a good outcome.  We think it’s a great outcome for the Chinese people.  We know it’s the right outcome for the American people.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, once again, thank you.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Thanks for working with us.  Thanks for your perseverance.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  (Laughter.)  You bet.

QUESTION:  It was worth the wait.  All right, we hope to see you again soon.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  No worries.  So long.

QUESTION:  And good – okay.  Have fun at the UN.  You got that going for you.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future