WASHINGTON: China continues its provocations in the South and East China Seas and is using a coordinated effort to compete with the US in diplomatic, military and economic terms, CIA Director Mike Pompeo has warned while identifying Russia as a "danger" for America.
Pompeo, who is a nominee for the position of the Secretary of State, asserting that the State Department must be at the center of formulating and executing the China policy. He also called for taking a tough position on a host of foreign policy issues including Russia, Iran and North Korea.
"Even while America has re-established a position of strength in our diplomatic relationship, China continues its concerted and coordinated effort to compete with the United States in diplomatic, military, and economic terms.
"For years, through IP theft and coercive technology transfer, China has exploited weak US trade policy and leeched wealth and secrets from our economy. Militarily, it continues its provocation in the South and East China Seas, in cyberspace, and even in outer space," Pompeo said.
He said this in his prepared remarks for his conformation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, excerpts of which was released by the White House late last night. He said the current administration was determined to work diplomatically with the Chinese government in an effort to develop a more productive bilateral partnership.
"We have been pleased with China's support of our efforts to apply pressure on the North Korean regime, but it must do more. The State Department must be at the center of formulating and executing our China policy," said Pompeo.
He also alleged that Russia's aggressive behaviour, enabled by years of soft policy toward that aggression, was now over. The list of this administration's actions to raise the cost for Russian President Vladimir Putin is long, he said.
"We are rebuilding our already strong military and recapitalising our nuclear deterrent. We have imposed tough sanctions and expelled more Russian diplomats and intelligence officers from the US than at any time since the Cold War. We are arming brave young men and women resisting Russian expansionism in Ukraine and Georgia," Pompeo said.
"The actions of this administration make clear that President Trump's national security strategy, rightfully, has identified Russia as a danger to our country. Our diplomatic efforts with Russia will prove challenging, but as in previous confrontations with Moscow, must continue," he said.
Noting that diplomatic efforts are underway to rid the world of a nuclear North Korea, Pompeo said there was no higher diplomatic task for the State Department team than solving this decades-in-the-making threat to the nation.
"The stakes are high for everyone, but I believe them to be the highest for the North Korean regime. The State Department has successfully rallied the world to cut ties and impose sanctions that have had a profound impact.
"But there is much diplomatic work left to do, including supporting the President's intent to meet with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un," he said.
That meeting will take place against a backdrop of commitment by Trump to achieve denuclearisation and prevent America from being held at risk by a North Korean arsenal of nuclear weapons, he said.
"I have read the CIA histories of previous negotiations with the North Koreans, and am confident that we will not repeat the mistakes of the past. President Trump isn't one to play games at the negotiating table and I won't be either," said the outgoing CIA Director.
Pompeo also said that Iran had been on the march and has paid too low a price for its dangerous behaviour.
The Trump Administration has developed a strategy to counter Iran that will raise that cost, he said.
"The issues surrounding Iran's proliferation threat are real and we, along with our allies, must deal with the long-term risk that its capability presents. But we cannot let the nuclear file prevent us from acting against Iran's cyber efforts or its attempts to provide missiles to the Houthis to attack Saudi Arabia and Americans who travel there," he said.
"Iran's activities in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon threaten the very existence of Israel, and the global reach of Hezbollah threatens us right here in the homeland. Iran freed American hostages for the sake of a deal and then turned immediately to holding still more," he alleged.
China claims almost all of South China Sea and also laid claims on the Senkaku islands under the control of Japan in East China Sea and resorted to aggressive patrols in the last two years. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the over the South China Sea. The US is periodically deploying its naval ships and fighter planes to assert freedom of navigation.