BEIJING (Reuters) – Beijing has discovered its villain in its multi-fronted battle with the United States: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies to the preliminary listening to of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
The former CIA chief has been singled out for scorn, in Chinese state media and even on the international ministry, over his criticism of all the things from Chinese tech big Huawei to its file on human rights.
During a daily media briefing on Monday, China’s Foreign Ministry accused Pompeo by identify of telling lies, a placing departure from its normal follow of referring to international officers as “the relevant person”, or utilizing comparable wording.
Relations between the world’s two largest economies have nosedived amid a bitter commerce battle, U.S. sanctions on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, Washington’s help for Chinese-claimed Taiwan and criticism of a China’s therapy of Muslims in its western area of Xinjiang.
Pompeo has additionally angered Beijing with warnings about Chinese exercise within the Arctic and President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road infrastructure program.
On Monday, China’s Foreign Ministry took Pompeo to activity for an interview with Swiss media the place he criticized Huawei.
“For some time, Mr. Pompeo has been talking about China wherever he goes. Unfortunately his remarks are filled with lies and fallacies,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang instructed reporters.
“Mr. Pompeo should understand a plain truth. That is, every smear campaign with rumor-mongering and discord-sowing will only whittle down further his credibility and that of his country, the United States.”
One Chinese official acknowledged to Reuters the “rare direct mention” of Pompeo by identify on the ministry’s every day briefing, its primary venue for getting messages out to the remainder of the world.
Chinese state media, given an extended leash by propaganda authorities to lash out on the United States because the newest commerce talks failed final month, has additionally not minced phrases.
Strongly nationalistic tabloid the Global Times final month referred to as Pompeo a “gossipy woman” who’s attempting to “foment dissension”, in a bit that was broadly re-published by different media shops.
On Wednesday the identical newspaper referred to as Pompeo “harsh and unreasonable” with a “gangster style”.
A second Chinese official mentioned the rationale Beijing didn’t like Pompeo was easy: “He’s a Cold War warrior.”
Beijing usually tells Washington to desert “Cold War thinking”.
A senior U.S. State Department official, requested in regards to the unusually direct criticism of Pompeo, mentioned: “We don’t comment on Chinese Communist Party propaganda.”
Last week, the international ministry focused Pompeo for his remarks on the 30th anniversary of Beijing’s bloody June four, 1989, crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, wherein he mentioned “ghosts” had but to be laid to relaxation and urged a full accounting of the victims.
One international diplomatic supply instructed Reuters that China was responding to the tougher line popping out of the State Department on China, and is perhaps testing the waters to attempt to work out whether or not this was additionally consultant of what Trump thought, particularly forward of the G20 assembly later this month.
A second international diplomatic supply mentioned that in non-public conferences the Chinese are even harsher about Pompeo.
“They rant. They hate him,” mentioned the supply, who, like the primary supply, spoke on situation of anonymity.
Wang Yiwei, a professor of worldwide relations at Beijing’s elite Renmin University, mentioned China seen Pompeo in opposition to the backdrop of his CIA heritage and doesn’t like his direct assaults.
“China feels this is unprofessional and has been upset by it,” Wang mentioned. “Generally China wouldn’t react so intensely, but this man has gone too far.”
The rancor comes forward of the G20 summit within the Japanese metropolis of Osaka, which Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump will each attend.
China has not reduce off communications with Pompeo, although. Last month, he and the Chinese authorities’s high diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, spoke by phone, with Wang saying the United States should “change its course”, in keeping with the ministry.
Trump himself has largely been spared within the international ministry blasts, a minimum of instantly, and in Russia final week Xi referred to Trump as his buddy.
More acrimony may lie forward, with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who gave a hard-line speech on China in November, anticipated on June 24 to offer a China-focused speech at Washington’s Wilson Center.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Gao Liangping, and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Nick Macfie