QUESTION: Joining us now with more is United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Congressman Gowdy, it’s great to be with you.
QUESTION: Likewise. Tell us about the actions you’ve taken against China with respect to their diplomats and why you took it.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Trey, today we took the simple action of telling Chinese diplomats working here in the United States the free ride is over, their ability to conduct espionage here in the United States has – that time has passed, and so we’ve put restrictions on them. They need to ask permission now to conduct meetings with local officials and to gather at certain levels.
These are the kind of restrictions we’ve had on us, our diplomats in China, and now we’ve got a reciprocal arrangement. It’s the same thing President Trump has done in every dimension for four years, Trey. The United States took a knee, it bent a knee to the Chinese Communist Party, and President Trump has said enough. Whether it’s on trade or on their stealing of intellectual property and trade secrets, destroying jobs here in the United States, we’re simply not going to take it anymore. We’re going to demand that the Chinese Communist Party, that authoritarian regime, not treat America in the way that it has for all these decades.
QUESTION: Well, Mr. Secretary, before you were the Secretary of State you were the head of the CIA and you were also on the House Intelligence Committee when you served in the House. Do you view China as our country’s greatest threat? Is it on par with Russia or ahead of Russia?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Trey, the single greatest threat to the United States of America from a foreign power emanates from the Chinese Communist Party. It’s not, frankly, a close call. I heard the Attorney General’s comments today about the particular threat related to elections; but broader and more deeply than that, the Chinese Communist Party is building out its military, it has infiltrated the United States in ways that Russia has not, and its economic might has been used through state-owned enterprises and subsidizing companies to destroy tens of thousands of jobs all across the heartland in America. It’s unacceptable behavior, and President Trump is not going to permit it to continue.
And then, of course, we’re all suffering even today from the Wuhan virus. The Chinese Communist Party had a chance to slow it down, to stop it, to let the world know what was taking place; and instead of giving us full disclosure, they covered up. This is thousands of lives and billions of dollars of wealth destroyed in the United States and all across the world. This is what authoritarian regimes do. It’s what President Trump is working to make sure they can never do again to America.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you mentioned China as a military threat. What are they doing to increase their military capacity, and what should Americans know about that and be concerned about?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, they’ve increased their budget significantly. It’s permitted them to conduct an enormous amount of missile tests, increasing risk throughout Southeast Asia. They’re building out their navy. They’re professionalizing their military, truly building up a capacity, not just to be effective in their coastal waters but to create power that can reach all across the globe. And then they’re co-opting other countries. They’re using their military power, building bases around the world as well.
This has been going on for far too long. We’re going to turn the tide. The world has begun to see this is – Trey, this is about the central ideas of freedom versus authoritarianism. America knows how to win these confrontations, and with President Trump’s leadership I am very confident that we will. We’ve spent more money on our military over the last two years than any year in the previous decade. You and I served in Congress together; we saw the struggle. We had to do that. President Trump (inaudible) — he’s going to build out our military. He’s going to take care of our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen, and Marines. We’ll be ready.
QUESTION: Mike, you recently took some action with respect to the ICC, the International Criminal Court. Why did you take that action, and why was that in America’s best interest?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Trey, I think most Americans aren’t familiar with the International Criminal Court. This is a group of political hacks in The Hague, a place that is threatening our kids who served in Afghanistan, our young men and women who served and fought there. This is a rogue court with lawyers that are frankly corrupt and political, and they are threatening to prosecute Americans who engaged in America’s fight for freedom in Afghanistan.
That’s unacceptable, and so we have begun to put real pressure on the court, to tell the court just – the United States didn’t participate in the agreements that set up this court. We want nothing to do with it, and you’re darn sure not going to prosecute Americans. So we today sanctioned a couple of the people who were at the center of the effort to prosecute Americans, and we won’t rest until it’s the case that we are confident that no mother, no father has to worry that their child traveling across the world might be hauled in by this court in The Hague.
QUESTION: Mike, there was a historic agreement between the UAE and Israel. What should Americans know about that? And what’s Iran been doing, since we have not heard as much about them as Russia and China lately?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Trey, it was truly historic to watch and, in fact, listen to the conversation between Prime Minister Netanyahu and the leader of the United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and President Trump, a historic peace agreement where we’ve had this long history of the Arab states not recognizing Israel as the Jewish homeland and as its – as it ought to be. A nation has a right to exist.
And President Trump, his vision for peace is beginning to come to fruition. We’ve now seen the first country in two and a half decades recognize Israel’s right to exist, and you can already see the benefits to both the people of Israel and the people of the United Arab Emirates.
The part – it came about in part because of the President’s decision early on. He recognized that the Islamic Republic of Iran was the greatest threat to stability in the Middle East, the greatest threat to our kids, our men and women, and our safety here in the United States. The United Arab Emirates and Israel both recognize Iran as this great threat, so they have now found a way to build out a relationship which can build out a coalition to ultimately make sure that this threat never reaches American shores or harms anyone in the Middle East either.
QUESTION: Secretary Pompeo, thank you for your service to our country, including your service in uniform when you finished at West Point.