QUESTION: We’ve kept you busy, Secretary, in Delhi – what, 18 hours – on 19 hours, and I know that you’ve heard the word “China” more times than you can count. Now, we know that China is knocking at our doorsteps and that’s a clear and present issue. But what is there to this relationship that goes beyond the China problem?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. So, many things. This was a good relationship long before the Chinese Communist Party started causing as much trouble as they’re causing today. And I’m confident that if China were to go away suddenly, that we all pray might happen, I’m confident the relationship would still stand.
It’s built on a set of shared understandings, right. We’re two democracies, big democracies, vibrant democracies with lots of different views. The relationship is built on a shared set of understandings about how the world works, about the rule of law and transparency, trade to make two nations better. We have a lot of students from India that come to study in the United States of America. We have a deep set of ties that go far beyond the current challenge presented by the Chinese Communist Party.
QUESTION: You prefer to use Chinese Communist Party instead of China and I – we also noticed – all of us noticed that you prefer to say Secretary General or General Secretary Xi Jinping instead of president.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.
QUESTION: So please explain the logic to us.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, I like to be accurate. (Laughter.) Right? These are just facts. That’s General Secretary’s title.
SECRETARY POMPEO: And it is the party that is fomenting the challenge, not the hundreds of millions of Chinese that would like to be out under the – from the jackboot of the Chinese Communist Party as well. And so I always want to make sure that I’m clear about who’s causing the trouble.
And the trouble in the world, the challenge, whether it’s the problems currently on your northern border or the fact that this virus escaped and the Chinse Communist Party failed to let the world know in a timely fashion to prevent untold misery from taking place – that wasn’t the Chinese people. That was a communist party, an authoritarian regime that was simply incapable of dealing with a crisis in a way that the world has every expectation, properly so, and indeed what they have promised to the world. They’re part of the World Health Organization. They had an obligation to do better. And so I use those terms because they’re precise and they’re accurate and they reflect the reality of what’s taking place inside of China today.
QUESTION: Well, Xi Jinping is president for life.
SECRETARY POMPEO: There have been a lot of folks president for life who found that the people inside of their country had a different view.
QUESTION: And he’s not elected?
SECRETARY POMPEO: He’s the general secretary; this is his title. It’s also the commander of their armed forces. He has many titles.
QUESTION: Many titles. So a country like India, do we have to worry about the Chinese Communist Party or do we have to worry about China?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, it’s the Communist Party that drives everything there. To your point, it’s not a democracy. They rule with an iron fist. They ensure their continued political preeminence as their primary mission set inside of their country. So those who object, anybody who wanted to exercise their own faith, or when you see what’s happening in the west to the Uyghur Muslims – right – these are the kind of things you only see in authoritarian regimes, a massive set of human rights violations.
So the challenge presented to the world comes from this ideology that is represented by General Secretary Xi, Xi Jinping, who talks about national rejuvenation. That term has real meaning. He has real intent behind that. It is not simply to rule in China, it is not simply to have power throughout the first island chain, but it is an idea that says China is the Middle Kingdom, it is central, and it should have hegemony in a much broader place than just in its own local region. That challenge is a result of the Chinese Communist Party, it’s Marxist-Leninist ideology, and we have to confront it in every place that we can.
QUESTION: I know that you think a lot, so look at the place of America. In one way or the other, America has been the preeminent power – one of the preeminent powers of the world for the last 120 years. What kind of world is emerging now? Will it be a bipolar world, still a unipolar world, multipolar world? And in that world, where will America be?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I think it’s actually more complicated than you describe.
QUESTION: (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, so I understand. We’re all up against it. And my answer will be insufficient in depth as well. Look, it’s – what we hope, our expectation, this will be a world that is premised on the ideas that emanate from the rule of law and sovereignty, where each country gets to make its own set of decisions, a world in which individuals who want to exercise their own religious freedom have the right to do so. These are the value sets that we hope that the world will encompass for the next 150 years. And America’s place, if we do our job well, if America is successful in its own workings inside, then we’ll be someone who is a shining example of that. It’s our history.
And I hope that we continue to do that. I hope we continue to be this shining example for a robust debate, a real democracy. We have parties win one year, then we have parties lose. This is how people are respected, how human dignity is respected. If we do that, we’ll still be an important player. We have a big economy, we have innovative people, we have a system that promotes that innovation and rewards hard work. Those are the kinds of things that we hope every nation will adopt. And when they do, this will be a model that is very different than the one that the Chinese Communist Party is presenting to the world.
QUESTION: Do you get the sense that your Indian counterparts understand the Chinese challenge?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, I think so. I think they do. I must say, to the extent that they don’t, the United States has been guilty of that too. For an awfully long time, nearly every country across the world went on bended knee to China. There were a set of rules and then, well, there’s the China exception for that rule —
SECRETARY POMPEO: — whether it was trade and tariffs, just – the list is long. I think the whole world is coming to see. I think the tide has turned. I think the world has begun to recognize the threat posed by the ideology that emanates from the Chinese Communist Party. And so yes, I think my Indian counterparts get that. I think they can see it. I think they can see how it presents risk to the Indian people, and I think they are now inclined to work with partners throughout the region and throughout the world to prevent those bad things from happening here in India.
QUESTION: But there’s always a feeling in India that when a big problem comes, India is left alone to fend for itself.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.
QUESTION: Should India feel alone now to fend for – left to fend for itself?
SECRETARY POMPEO: No, not at all. I’ll give you a perfect example. So I’ve now been Secretary of State for two and a half years, a little bit more. I was the CIA director for a little bit before that. I’ve watched the relationship between the United States, Japan, Australia, and India grow and deepen and broaden. We call it the Quad but put the name aside for the moment – four big democracies with big economies with a shared view of the rule of law and transparency. These kinds of relationships will mean that none of our countries are ever alone.
QUESTION: With the shared trade talks?
SECRETARY POMPEO: And with a shared concern from the – that the Chinese Communist Party wants to, in the case of the Japanese, take the Senkaku Islands; in the case of the Australians, present real risk in the east – in the Pacific islands that surround Australia. They’ve done – they’ve imposed real burdens on Australia. When Australia had simply the temerity to ask that there be an investigation of this virus that emanated from Wuhan – this is the bullying, these are the kind of tactics that the Chinese Communist Party uses, and so we just need to stand together.
QUESTION: And what do they want from India?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Who is “they”?
QUESTION: Chinese, the Chinese Communist Party, as you say.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Oh, I think the Chinese Communist Party wants the same thing in every place. They want to control and dominate. They want to have political influence. They want to be extractive. You see this with the Belt and Road Initiative, right. These are predatory economic activities designed a little bit to build a road for someone, but mostly to get their teeth into that country, to be able to exert political influence in that place, and when the time is right, to make that country pay a tribute. There’s a long history of Chinese having nations that they feel owe tribute to them. This is the same model that the Chinese Communist Party has now adopted. It’s dangerous for the world and I am confident that India and the United States and other freedom-loving nations will push back against this in a way that will make the world a safer, more stable place.
QUESTION: So in a few minutes now you’re flying to Maldives and then to Sri Lanka and then to Indonesia. Now – and your deputy had just been to —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Bangladesh.
QUESTION: Bangladesh. Now do we get the sense that there is a greater awareness that India’s neighborhood also has to – has – needs a little bit of balancing, because the Chinese influence is growing here?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes. Yes. And the United States has been hard at that for some time, not for long enough. But in the Trump administration we’ve recognized this and we’re working hard on it. It’s the not first time I’ve been to the region as well. It won’t be the last.
QUESTION: Yeah. So my last question – and I’m stretching my time – Uyghurs. You mentioned the Uyghurs. How do you explain this irony of all of the Islamic world keeping silent about the Uyghurs, which involves several million people, but at the same time getting so excited about Macron and France over just a comment?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. I don’t know that I have an explanation. I do have an expectation. I hope that every human being who sees what’s taking place in western China will be revulsed by it, will recognize that this is the worst of humanity, actions that are deeply degrading and deeply tyrannical, that they remind us of what happened in the 1930s in Germany, and that the whole world, whether they are Islamic countries or Hindu countries or Christian countries – I hope the whole world will come to have a shared understanding and convince China not to do this to these people who are —
QUESTION: But you understand that Pakistan is keeping silent because they have problems, they have limitations. But all the rest of them, they are your friends. Have you talked with them?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, we do. We remind them of what’s taking place there and our hope that they will find a pathway to speak about this openly and publicly, not for the purpose of confronting or causing harm, but for the purpose of preventing this horrible set of actions that’s taking place in western China.
QUESTION: Secretary, thank you very much. I wish we had more time. Safe travels to you and —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you very much. We’ll do this again.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, sir.
QUESTION: Thank you.