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  • (Applause.)

  • SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you all.

  • Dobry den.

  • Let me try it that way.

  • How did I do?

  • All right.

  • That's all you're going to suffer of my Czech today.

  • Minister Petricek, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Vondracek, Senator Fischer, who

  • I'll be speaking with after my remarks, members of the parliament, and other distinguished

  • guests:

  • Thank you.

  • This is an amazing honor to be with you all today.

  • This has very special meaning to me.

  • Many years agotoo many to speak about – I was a young soldier in Europe stationed

  • not far from here, near Bayreuth.

  • Back then, it was nearly impossible to imagine that an American secretary of state would

  • ever deliver an address in this exquisite city that was, at that time, held captive

  • by communists, or that I'd be the one doing it.

  • I was a young lieutenant.

  • God has been good to us all.

  • This visit is personal for me in another way.

  • My home state of Kansas was a magnet for Czech settlers in the 19th century, from places

  • like Bohemia and Moravia and other parts of this fine country.

  • We have a Pilsen not too far from Wichita, where I live.

  • Their legacy is still alive today in their descendants and Czech festivals held in small

  • towns all across Kansas.

  • Those settlers came to Kansas – I know this history pretty wellthey came for a better

  • life.

  • There was also a familiar, very rich soil, and the coveted freedom that America always

  • promises to its people.

  • And the Czech people know about freedom, too, and it is indeed a great and enduring bond

  • between our two amazing countries.

  • You all know this history well: In 1918, in Pittsburgh, Czechs and Slovaks living in and

  • inspired by the United States signed an agreement laying the foundations for the new democratic

  • state of Czechoslovakia.

  • And yesterday I had the chance to commemorate in Pilsen, 75 years ago, American troops coming

  • to liberate.

  • And that even during the darkest years of the Soviet occupation, the ties that endured

  • through the American people's hopes and prayers for your country and the broadcasts

  • of Radio Free Europe, they meant we were always there.

  • We were always with you.

  • When the Iron Curtain finally fell, Americans rejoiced in your freedom.

  • And it's only fitting that Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty moved here in 1995.

  • This missionit's the one that was just spoken aboutis as important today as

  • it has ever been.

  • I was serving in America's House of Representatives, the lower body, in 2014 when we put Vaclav

  • Havel's bust in the U.S. Capitol to mark two and a half decades of the Velvet Revolution.

  • May it always remain there.

  • Thirty years ago, President Havel became the first politician from the former Soviet bloc

  • to come to speak at the joint session of Congress.

  • I went to a handful of them during my time.

  • It's always remarkable, and only the most special leaders are given that opportunity.

  • He said that day, quote, “We are living in very extraordinary times.

  • The human face of the world is changing so rapidly that none of the familiar political

  • speedometers are adequate.”

  • It was, truly, and it was an extraordinary time, an exciting time for this part of the

  • world, as the clouds of communism parted and the rays of freedom burst forth.

  • Central and Eastern Europe rejoined their free brothers and sisters in the West.

  • But we see today that in spite of this great time, we see that many of the geopolitical

  • assumptions that we held back then haven't come to pass.

  • The things we believed just turned out not to be so.

  • And perhapsperhaps just now we're recognizing the trends that we should have recognized

  • long ago.

  • Let me be a bit more specific.

  • We see that authoritarianism didn't die in 1989, or in 1991.

  • The storm was still there; it was simply over the horizon.

  • While we wrote the epitaph on those types of regimes, we now know that it was premature.

  • I happen to believe with all my heartand America's friends in the Czech Republic

  • realize this now toothe Czech experience is a harbinger of what other nations on the

  • continent face.

  • RussiaRussia continues to seek to undermine your democracy, your security through disinformation

  • campaigns and through cyberattacks.

  • It's even trying to rewrite your history.

  • We've all seen that.

  • Today an even greater threat is the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party and its

  • campaigns of coercion and control.

  • In your country alone, we see influence campaigns against your politicians and your security

  • forces; we see the theft of industrial data that you have created through your innovation

  • and creativity; we see the use of economic levels[1] to stifle freedom itself.

  • It's not tanks and guns.

  • It's very different from that.

  • The CCP initiates retaliation against innocent parties when crossed.

  • It infamously canceled the PFK[2] Philharmonia's trip to Beijing for something as simple as

  • the mayor's efforts to deepen ties with Taiwan.

  • Shanghai cancelled its cooperation with Prague after this city signed a sister-city agreement

  • with Taipei.

  • Look, you all see this.

  • The CCP leverages economic power to coerce countries.

  • Recall that the Chinese embassy in Prague sent a letter to your former senate president,

  • who had hoped to visit Taiwan.

  • Your free press did amazing work and reported on this strong-arming.

  • The letter read as follows.

  • It said, quote, “Czech enterprises with economic interests in China will have to pay,”

  • end of quote.

  • This is deeply inconsistent with each of our values.

  • The CCP lies, and makes those who tell the truth disappear.

  • The virulent pandemic that came from Wuhan spread so widely, and caused so much damage,

  • because the CCP covered it up.

  • Then there's the tragedy that has befallen Hong Kong and the premature denial of freedom

  • to those people.

  • You see it in far-off places and their attempts to dominate the South China Sea.

  • You see it in the detention of one million Uyghur Muslims living in internment camps

  • in Xinjiang.

  • This is the human rights stain of the century, sustained by companies like Huawei, using

  • technology that secret police could only have dreamed of in times gone by.

  • Now, it might be easy to dismiss the China challenge as just a passing irritant, but

  • I hope you all know it is not so.

  • The regime has a Marxist-Leninist core no less than the Soviet Union did, and indeed,

  • perhaps more so.

  • The party has always put itself first.

  • Its actions flow from its ideology.

  • And it's paranoid about free societies like ours.

  • What's happening now isn't Cold War 2.0.

  • The challenge of resisting the CCP threat is in some ways much more difficult.

  • That's because the CCP is already enmeshed in our economies, in our politics, in our

  • societies in ways the Soviet Union never was.

  • And Beijing is not likely to change course in the near future, although one lives in

  • hope.

  • No one thought the Berlin Wall would fall.

  • I was a soldier there untilin then-West Germany until 1989, until just a couple weeks

  • before that wall came down, was serving in a little border unit in a town called Bindlach.

  • We had no idea that in just a matter of weeks, people would be crossing freely back to be

  • reunited with their families.

  • Well, freedom will win this time too.

  • As President Havel once reminded us, we must commit not tolive the liebut tolive

  • in the truth.”

  • And here's what's true: China's world dominance is not inevitable.

  • We are the authors of our fate.

  • Free societies have always been more attractive.

  • Your people know this.

  • Our people do too.

  • And here's the best news of all from all of that: The resolve of freedom-loving people

  • all over the world is to defend their way of life, and it is growing.

  • I see it every place I go.

  • Americans now recognize that the CCP, which is totally separate from the Chinese people,

  • threatens their values and their way of life.

  • Both parties in Washington agree on very little, but on this, we all know what we're up against.

  • I spend a great deal of time talking to members of both of our political parties.

  • The tide has turned, just as I see it turning here in Europe as well.

  • The West is winning.

  • Don't let anybody tell you about the decline of the West.

  • That is false.

  • That is their narrative.

  • I've heard the same observations from political leaders across the spectrum, most recently

  • in London.

  • Those meetings reminded me that there are plenty of European leaders eager to lean into

  • freedom.

  • But it's going to take all of us.

  • It will take us working together here in Prague, in Poland, in Portugal.

  • We have the obligation to speak clearly and plainly to our people and without fear.

  • We must confront the complex questions presented by this challenge, and we must do so together.

  • We have to explain what I think those of us who grew up in another time knew.

  • We have to explain to our citizens the price free societies will pay if we don't confront

  • this threat.

  • We have to explain what kind of scrutiny we must give to Chinese investment and why we

  • do that.

  • And we have to talk to them about what sorts of alliances are needed to be built between

  • the United States and Europe and around the world, and how we will retool to withstand

  • and resist this threat.

  • Your nation, and others that suffered behind the Iron Curtain, know this.

  • You know best how all deeply communists plunge societies into ruin and oppression.

  • You all have seen it and you've heard it from the generations before you.

  • Our countries must work together to awaken all.

  • We must help them.

  • We must help everyone.

  • I urge youthe representatives of the Czech peopleto summon a hearty measure

  • of courage to stand up for the sovereignty and freedoms of you and your countrymen demanded

  • on the streets of Prague back in 1968, in the Charter 77 document, in Wenceslas Square

  • back in 1989.

  • Your nation has the opportunity to show all of Europe what it means to be a trailblazer

  • for freedom.

  • Indeed, I must say you are doing it in many ways already:

  • Citizens like those with Project Sinopsis have fought for years to create transparency

  • around CCP actions, often in the face of legal threats.

  • The Czech press, too, has investigated and disclosed disturbing cases of CCP interference

  • in academia and the media, also under the threat of legal reprisal.

  • Your senate foreign affairs committee has recommended withdrawal from your expedition

  • treatyextradition treaty with Hong Kong.

  • Prime Minister Babis, with whom I just spent some time, helped set the tone for all of

  • the world for international cybersecurity with the conference that produced the 5G Prague

  • Proposals.

  • And Mayor Hrib has continued President Havel's good work of supporting Tibet.

  • Your senate president will make that trip to Taiwan later this month, fulfilling the

  • wishes of his late predecessor.

  • Good on him.

  • Know tooknow too that America is supporting you and will always do it.

  • We will always take a stand for freedom and fight with our brothers and sisters who are

  • prepared to do it with us.

  • We recently accepted the EU's offer to start a dialogue focused between the EU and the

  • United States on China and how we will jointly confront it.

  • We're working with our UN friends to protect UN bodies from CCP malign influence.

  • Too, we're refocusing NATO, making sure that it is fit for purpose in these times

  • and on the new and emerging threats.

  • And we've joined you in building a Clean Network of countries and companies who refuse

  • to sacrifice cybersecurity just to save a little bit of money.

  • And we're ready to invest up to $1 billion in the Three Seas Initiative Fund to help

  • protect against Chinese opaque lending practices, and we look forward to the Czech Republic

  • and other nations doing their part financially as well.

  • And that canceled PFK Prague Philharmonic[3] trip I mentioned?

  • The American Embassy rescheduled a concert in our ambassador's residence, and we hope

  • to host that group for a trip to the United States just as soon as we can get it arranged.

  • It'll be glorious.

  • So, too, have we taken actions like ejecting Chinese intellectual property thieves from

  • our own borders, putting sanctions on human rights abusers in the Chinese Government,

  • and much, much more.

  • The United States is indeed rising under President Trump to meet this moment.

  • I'll close here because I want to have a good conversation with you, and I want to

  • leave plenty of time for that.

  • Today you should know that after three decades of freedom, we can see the blessings of liberty

  • here in the Czech Republic.

  • Earlier today I met with a group of startup leaders.

  • Their nimble enterprisesonce unthinkable under Soviet commissarsare bringing value

  • to both the United States and the Czech economies.

  • But maybe more importantly, they reflect how the rich soil of liberty yields a plentiful

  • harvest in human flourishing when freedom is tolerated.

  • I'll close by quoting one more time President Havel: “The idea of human rights and freedoms

  • must be an integral part of any meaningful world order.”

  • My Czech friends, please remember that.

  • And remember too that today, tomorrow, and forever, America will be with you as we champion

  • those precious human rights and freedoms.

  • Thank you.

  • May God bless you and the Czech people.

  • I look forward to our conversation today.

  • Thank you all so much.

(Applause.)

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B1 INT US czech ccp freedom prague chinese europe

Secretary Pompeo remarks at the Czech Senate, in Prague

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    John Yu   posted on 2020/08/30
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