QUESTION: Joining us tonight to talk about all of this and much more, the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mr. Secretary, good to have you with us. Let’s begin with the rhetoric of the Chinese Government, and it is moving up quite a – to quite heated extremes now. Your interpretation of what’s going on in Beijing.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So, Lou, thanks for having me on. That was quite a list you read there with respect to the Chinese Communist Party’s aggression. I think what’s going on with the rhetoric is for the first time there’s an administration, a President in the United States who isn’t just going to turn the other cheek, who’s prepared to take on this challenge. It’s 40 years in coming. Frankly, America slept while China grew. You talked about their missile systems, their military, all the things that have grown. President Trump – the trade issues, all the economic issues that you’ve talked about on your show for months and months and months now. President Trump is taking each of these on in a serious way, and I think you see the rhetoric from the Chinese Communist Party ratcheting up because they are feeling the pressure that’s being put on them by this administration.
QUESTION: And the issue of a cold war, as the foreign minister suggested, between the two countries. It is – is it not decidedly already that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, Lou, the Cold War analogy has some relevance but the truth of the matter is the Chinese Communist Party made some choices under General Secretary Xi. He’s made it clear whether it’s his military buildup, the diplomatic efforts, the Belt and Road Initiative to try and create vassal states, a tyrannical regime all around the world for global hegemony – the challenges are different. There are economic challenges here at home. The United Front Work – we had to close the consulate, the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas, because there were spies operating from that place. It had truly become a den of spies. This is different than the Cold War in that we are challenged by a country with 1.4 billion people, an economy that had year-on-year growth of about 6 percent GDP, and it cost millions of jobs here in the United States of America. We will – we will push back against them. President Trump will push back against them on every one of these fronts.
QUESTION: Among those fronts are the companies, the front companies from the People’s Republic of China in this country, hundreds upon hundreds of them that are stealing intellectual property, whether – by whatever means, but including cyber, of course, cyber attacks. What are we going to see happen? There has been so little acknowledgment on the part of China that it is committing crimes against the United States and certainly no remorse. Are we going to carry out a full assault on those who would steal our intellectual property, our technology secrets, our military secrets?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m confident that under President Trump’s leadership we will, Lou. Your point is well taken. Billions and billions of dollars’ worth of American wealth for ordinary working-class families. Millions of jobs lost over the last 20 years. We came in with a lot of work to do. The previous administration had refused to confront this challenge. And you’ve seen us do it in places – we’ve done it with respect to telecommunications, Huawei; the work that we have done there has cost Huawei a lot because it was stealing stuff from us. And now you’ll see a broader effort. There’ll be announcements, I think, in the coming days and weeks where you’ll see the United States confront this in a very serious way, all to the benefit of the American economy, whether that is students that are studying here in the United States that are part of this network, whether it is – you talked about the incident at UCLA. There was one in the University of Virginia. So the FBI and the Justice Department are working on these issues too. All of the places where the Chinese Communist Party has simply refused to behave like a normal nation and compete on normal commercial terms, America has turned its cheek for decades; President Trump is simply not going to permit that to continue to happen. We’ve built out the case and now it’s time to execute and implement the President’s strategy.
QUESTION: At last count there were 75 of the so-called Confucius Institutes in K through 12, American colleges and university campuses. How many will there be by the end of this year?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I hope the answer is zero, Lou. We’ve made clear that these are foreign missions. The State Department has designated them as such. That’s important because now they come under a set of restrictions and rules. I think most universities – and frankly, we’ve had these Confucius Institution places other than American colleges. I think that everyone’s coming to see the risk associated with them and the recruitment of spies and collaborators inside of those institutions. I think these institutions can see that and I’m hopeful we will get them all closed out before the end of this year.
QUESTION: And the prospect that Chinese students will just simply be disallowed in the United States because they have been the agents, if you will, of espionage amongst the many agents of espionage in this country working for the CCP.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Lou, I don’t know what decision the President will ultimately make with respect to the broad array of Chinese students, but your point is well taken. They aren’t all spies, but many of them are being watched, their families back home are being watched, and these are efforts for the Chinese Government – the Chinese Communist Party in particular – to identify those that might ultimately work on their behalf.
QUESTION: As the complexity – the depth of the complexity and this challenge and threat from the People’s Republic of China has to be met on so many levels and in so many theaters, including amongst our allies, whether they be in Europe or Southeast Asia. We know that India – Modi has sent a warship into the South China Sea, an act in response – it is at least interpreted as such – against the clashes on the border with China, and also it appears with some affinity with the U.S. Navy that is in the South China Sea. The importance of the relationship with India in meeting the threat from China.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Lou, it’s central that we have friends and allies in this battle. We’ve worked for two years now to build that out. We’ve made real progress. You’ve seen lots of countries turn away from Huawei. You’ve seen them acknowledge the threat. They slept on this threat the same way America did for two decades. I think you’re seeing the entire world begin to unite around the central understanding that the Chinese Communist Party simply is going to refuse to compete in a fair, reciprocal, transparent way, and so whether it’s our friends in India, our friends in Australia, friends in Japan or South Korea, I think they have all come to see the risk to their own people, to their own countries, and you’ll see them partner with the United States to push back on every front that we’ve talked about this evening.
QUESTION: And amongst the most energetic of lobbyists on – in corporate America and Wall Street has been BlackRock, and BlackRock announcing that it will be setting up the first mutual fund in China without joint venture partners or any constraints – apparent constraints – that have been the case for 20 years there. This looks peculiar given the tensions between the two countries and the fact that BlackRock has been among those institutions working against President Trump’s values and insistence on policy to constrain China. What should we make of that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Lou, I don’t want to speak about any particular, single private company, but make no mistake about it: The President has made clear our expectations for complying with U.S. law, complying with all of the requirements that we have here in place, that we want a fair and reciprocal trade relationship. You saw this in the negotiations over the trade deal. We didn’t get the big deal done. Most administrations would’ve caved, given the Chinese what they want. President Trump refused to do that, and I think you’ll see more that follows on the economic front that’ll be really important to secure jobs and wealth for people here in the United States.
QUESTION: We’ve seen almost four years of it from this administration, so we look forward to a replication.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thanks, Lou.
QUESTION: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, we appreciate it much.