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  • SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning, everyone.

  • This morning, early, I had the chance to drive through Arlington Cemetery, and as we approach

  • Memorial Day Weekend, I want to reflect on the sacrifices of our uniformed military who

  • have given their lives in the cause of freedom.

  • As Secretary of State and an Army veteran, I spend all my days working to use American

  • diplomatic power to secure freedom without putting our servicemembers in harm's way.

  • And I want to recognize and thank the families who have lost loved ones in service to our

  • country for their sacrifices, too, from Lexington to Leyte Gulf, from Valley Forge to the Ia

  • Drang Valley, and on all the other fields of battle.

  • I hope every American will reflect on the exceptional nation for which these warriors

  • fought and died so that we can live and enjoy the fruits of this great country.

  • I want to begin today with a few observations on China, because the media's focus on the

  • current pandemic risks missing the bigger picture of the challenge that's presented

  • by the Chinese Communist Party.

  • First, basic facts.

  • China's been ruled by a brutal, authoritarian regime, a communist regime since 1949.

  • For several decades, we thought the regime would become more like us through trade, scientific

  • exchanges, diplomatic outreach, letting them in the WTO as a developing nation.

  • That didn't happen.

  • We greatly underestimated the degree to which Beijing is ideologically and politically hostile

  • to free nations.

  • The whole world is waking up to that fact.

  • Pew reported – I think it was this past weekthat 66% of Americans have an unfavorable

  • view of China.

  • That is a result of the Chinese Communist Party's choices, which are influenced by

  • the nature of the regime.

  • And the nature of that regime is not new.

  • Second point on the bigger picture: The Chinese Communist Party's response to the COVID-19

  • outbreak in Wuhan have accelerated our more realistic understanding of communist China.

  • The Party chose to destroy live virus samples instead of sharing them or asking us to help

  • secure them.

  • The People's Liberation Army has claimed more features in the South China Sea's international

  • waters, sank a Vietnamese fishing boat, threatened a Malaysian energy prospector, and declared

  • a unilateral fishing ban.

  • The United States condemns these unlawful acts.

  • The Chinese Communist Party chose to threaten Australia with economic retribution for the

  • simple act of asking for an independent inquiry into the origins of the virus.

  • It's not right.

  • We stand with Australia and the more than 120 nations now who have taken up the American

  • call for an inquiry into the origins of the virus, so we can understand what went wrong

  • and save lives now, and in the future.

  • The Chinese Communist Party also chose to pressure the World Health Organization's

  • director-general into excluding Taiwan from this week's World Health Assembly in Geneva.

  • I understand that Dr. Tedros's unusually close ties to Beijing started long before

  • this current pandemic, and that's deeply troubling.

  • President Xi claimed this week that China has actedwith openness, transparency,

  • and responsibility.”

  • I wish it were so.

  • It's been 142 days since doctors at Wuhan Central Hospital first started sharing information

  • about a SARS-like virus.

  • And yet, today, as we all sit here this morning, Beijing continues to deny investigators access

  • to relevant facilities, to withhold live virus samples, to censor discussion of the pandemic

  • within China, and much, much more.

  • If the Chinese Communist Party wants to demonstrate real openness, real transparency, it could

  • easily hold press conferences, like this very press conference, and allow reporters to ask

  • him anything that they would like.

  • Third: China's contributions to fighting the pandemic are paltry compared to the cost

  • that they have imposed on the world.

  • This plague has cost roughly 90,000 American lives.

  • More than 36 million Americans have lost their job since March.

  • Globally, 300,000 livescould be as much as around $9 trillion, according to our estimates,

  • the cost imposition on the world by the Chinese Communist Party's failures.

  • The United States has responded with about $10 billion to benefit the international response

  • everything from vaccine research to funding for preparedness efforts and humanitarian

  • aid.

  • That's compared to a promise of $2 billion from the Chinese.

  • I look forward to seeing them fulfill that $2 billion commitment.

  • Private American businesses, toononprofits, charities, citizens have provided an additional

  • $4.3 billion from American donations to assist the world.

  • There is no country that remotely rivals what the United States has done to help combat

  • this terrible virus.

  • And today, I am pleased to announce another $162 million in foreign assistance, bringing

  • our total commitments disbursed to more than $1 billion since the outbreak began.

  • And that's just what the State Department and USAID have done.

  • In addition to that funding, today the State Department and USAID, and the Inter-American

  • Foundation are providing more than 200 million in assistance for Venezuelans in need as well.

  • This is what we do all around the world.

  • We will help the world recover from this pandemic.

  • Turning for a moment to Taiwan: I want to say congratulations to President Tsai on her

  • inauguration.

  • The democratic process in Taiwan has matured into a model for the world.

  • Despite great pressure from the outside, Taiwan has demonstrated the wisdom of giving people

  • a voice and a choice.

  • In Hong Kong, our decision on whether or not to certify Hong Kong as having “a high degree

  • of autonomyfrom China is still pending.

  • We're closely watching what's going on there.

  • This week pro-democracy legislators were man-handled while trying to stop a procedural irregularity

  • by pro-Beijing legislators.

  • Leading Hong Kong activists like Martin Lee and Jimmy Lai were hauled into court.

  • Actions like these make it more difficult to assess that Hong Kong remains highly autonomous

  • from mainland China.

  • We're also keeping a close eye on human rights, as we always dopandemic or no

  • pandemic.

  • I was pleased that France arrested this weekend Felicien Kabuga, who is alleged to have played

  • a key role in the Rwandan genocide.

  • We're monitoring Burundi, as voters there go to the polls today.

  • I urge all sides to refrain from provocations and allow there to be an election with no

  • violence, to let every citizen have the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights.

  • Nicaragua, toowe're concerned about numerous credible reports of hospitals filling

  • up and bodies being buried under cover of night, pointing to a much more severe situation

  • than the regime is actually acknowledging.

  • And we're concerned that individuals around the world, individuals including journalists,

  • have been arrested and detained based on their public statements or activities regarding

  • COVID-19.

  • The United States condemns all such uses of the pandemic around the world as a pretext

  • for repression.

  • Onto better news: Last week saw three diplomatic wins.

  • I'd like to highlight them:

  • First, last week the United States shipped its first-ever crude oil to Belarus.

  • I traveled there a few months back, made the commitment that we would work on this project

  • with them so they would be less dependent on crude oil from those who see the world

  • a little bit differently.

  • This deal will allow Belarus to diversify its supplies to go forward and take crude

  • oil from free nations.

  • We're the largest producer of oil and gas in the world.

  • If nations want enhanced energy security and deals crafted with respect for property rights

  • and free enterprise and the rule of law, come talk to us.

  • We'll get it done with you.

  • Second, in Afghanistan, the United States welcomes the political settlement by President

  • Ghani and Dr. Abdullah.

  • We urge the two leaders to channel momentum generated by this positive outcome to speed

  • up the government's entry into intra-Afghan negotiations.

  • We need all sides, including the Taliban, to do their part to get into talks.

  • We need violence reduced.

  • We're working hard to meet the critical objective of getting peace and reconciliation

  • inside of Afghanistan.

  • Third, I'm really proud of the team here at the State Department and the Commerce Department

  • who worked hard to help bring in the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation's

  • new $12 billion investment for a new state-of-the art chip foundry to Arizona.

  • Microchips integral to all our national security will be made in America again.

  • That deal was a piece of and an integral part of a string of accomplishments that we call

  • the “5G National Security Trifecta,” something we've been working on for some time.

  • Last week, the United States closed a loophole Huawei had used to circumvent export controls

  • by designing and producing semiconductors abroad.

  • And third, the third part of the trifecta is something I have mentioned before: the

  • 5G Clean Path. 5G data transiting American diplomatic facilities must only transit through

  • trusted equipment.

  • I had a good conversation with Secretary Esper this week on the importance of making sure

  • our military bases participate in the 5G path initiative as well.

  • I want to update you on our maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic of Iran,

  • too.

  • Tomorrow marks 24 months, two years, since I launched the campaign to get Iran to behave

  • like a normal nation.

  • We continue to follow through on that commitment.

  • On June 8th, our designation of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines goes into effect.

  • Last week, the U.S.

  • Government provided the maritime and energy industries new guidance to reduce their risk

  • of exposure to sanctionable activities related to Iran, as well as those regarding North

  • Korea and Syria.

  • The world's maritime community has warneddoing business with these vessels risks

  • severe consequences.

  • Our maximum pressure campaign also entails demanding that the regime in Tehran treat

  • its own people with respect and dignity.

  • Today, the United States announces that it is imposing sanctions on 12 Iranian individuals

  • and entities under human rights authorities.

  • One of those sanctioned is the current Minister of Interior for Iran, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli.

  • We have reason to believe he is the individual who gave orders in November 2019 authorizing

  • Iranian police forces to use lethal force on peaceful protesters inside of Iran.

  • His evil commands killed Iranian citizens.

  • We're proud to mete out what justice we can on behalf of the slain and silenced inside

  • of Iran.

  • And finally, we have just marked the sad anniversary of six years since Paul Overby's disappearance

  • in Afghanistan.

  • Our colleagues at the FBI have renewed their $1 million offer for information leading to

  • his return, and my team continues to press towards that goal through diplomatic channels

  • as well.

  • The well-being of American citizens comes first to this President, to this administration.

  • And with that, I'm happy to take a few questions.

  • MS ORTAGUS: Nike, go ahead.

  • QUESTION: Thank you.

  • Good morning.

  • SECRETARY POMPEO: Hi.

  • Good morning.

  • QUESTION: On Taiwan, you mentioned that the democratically-elected Taiwan President Tsai

  • Ing-wen, a few hours ago inaugurated to continue her second term.

  • We saw a video message from Deputy National Security Advisor Pottinger in Mandarin Chinese,

  • and we saw the video message from Assistant Secretary Stillwell, and your statement to

  • congratulate Taiwan.

  • My question for you is: How does the United States envision its relationship with Taiwan

  • and Taiwan's global participation after WHO in the coming years?

  • Separately if I may, President Trump mentioned last week that the U.S. may cut off all relationship

  • with China.

  • Would you like to weigh in your thoughts?

  • Should the United States ponder an official relationship with Taiwan based on shared values

  • of democracy, religious freedom, and human rights?

  • Thank you.

  • SECRETARY POMPEO: So we congratulated the winner of the election there.

  • We were happy to see that.

  • My congratulations were in English, not Mandarin.

  • It was the best that I could do.

  • But we understand that the work that we have done thereand it comports with the history

  • of the agreements between the United States and Chinais the right solution to maximize

  • the stability there in the straits.

  • The President talked about how we're going to respond, how he's beginning to think

  • about responding to the calamity that has befallen the world as a result of the actions

  • of the Chinese Communist Party.

  • I don't want to get ahead of him in terms of talking about how the administration will

  • respond to that, but you can already begin to see the outlines of it.

  • I talked about this with our 5G National Security Trifecta.

  • You can already see how we're beginning to work to make sure we get America First,

  • that we get this foreign policy right, and that we respond to these risks that the Chinese

  • Communist Party presents to the United States in an appropriate way.

  • You sawyesterday I think it was, or maybe it was the day beforethe Department of

  • Defense make announcements about work on rare Earth minerals so that, again, we wouldn't

  • be dependent on a nation that has demonstrated its unreliability, its willingness to steal

  • our intellectual property, all the things that, frankly, for decadesand this isn't

  • remotely partisan.

  • Democrat presidents, Republican presidents all just turned the other way because of 1.5

  • billion people and the opportunity for enormous markets, and this hope, this hope that engagement

  • would lead to a change in the behavior of the Chinese Communist Party.

  • It didn't happen.

  • And President Trump has been incredibly serious about making sure that we do the right things

  • for the American people.

  • I know he'll continue to do it.

  • We continue to work on this to develop an appropriate way to think about how we can

  • get the Chinese Communist Party and China to behave in a way that's consistent with

  • how we ask every nation to behave.

  • MS ORTAGUS: Said, go ahead.

  • QUESTION: Thank you, Morgan.

  • Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

  • SECRETARY POMPEO: Hello, sir.

  • QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, last night the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas abrogated

  • all agreements with Israel and the United States, including security coordination.

  • Do you have any comment on that?

  • And would you also comment on the process or the progress of annexation per the announcement

  • by Mr. Netanyahu that he will do so on July 1?

  • Thank you, sir.

  • SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, sure.

  • So I – we note the announcement by Abbas.

  • I was in communication today with our teams there.

  • We hope that the security arrangements will continue to be in place, that the work that's

  • done on the ground there to keep people in Israel and Palestinians safe will continue.

  • So I'm not exactly sure what to make of his statement, but I regret that he has decided

  • to abrogate these agreements.

  • We laid out a very clear vision for how peace could be brought.

  • We asked simply for this: We asked the Israelis and the Palestinians to agree that that would

  • be the basis for negotiations between them.

  • The Israelis have accepted that.

  • The Palestinians have continued to refuse to just simply sit down and enter into negotiation

  • based on President Trump's Vision