US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said the “incredibly aggressive” Chinese actions along the border with China were a reflection of the “behaviour” of General Secretary and President Xi Jinping in the region and the world, holding the Chinese leader more directly accountable for it than before.
“I put this in the context of General Secretary Xi Jinping and his behaviour throughout the region (and) the world,” Pompeo said referring to Xi by his party title, and not as president, in response to a question about the ongoing India-China border tensions at a news conference.
“I don’t think it is possible to look at that particular instance — the Chinese Communist Party aggression (the border conflict with India) — in isolation; you need to be put it in the larger context.” he added.
The secretary of state pointed to the number of both maritime band boundary disputes the Chinese Communist Party has “engaged in is unequal to any place in the world”.
Pompeo said there is hardly any neighbour of China that can say with satisfaction where their “sovereignty end”, which will be respected by the Chinese.
“That is certainly true now for the people of Bhutan as well,” the secretary of state said, bringing up the newest of China’s border disputes. Beijing announced last week the boundary with Bhutan have never been “delimited” and that there have been “disputes over the eastern, central and western sectors for a long time.”
This was in addition to all the other continuing 14 territorial disputes, with India, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and others.
The United States has been unequivocal in its support of India in this round of border of tensions with China and has squarely blamed Beijing for it. But it had until now put it mostly on the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA, the Chinese military).
Pompeo has led the Trump administration’s increasing attacks on China over a growing range of issues from the Covid-19 epidemic to the suppression of Uighur minorities, the new national security law for Hong Kong and the border conflict with India.
Two US aircraft carriers began the largest naval exercises in recent years in the South China Sea last Saturday in a move to send “an unambiguous signal to our partners and allies that we are committed to regional security and stability”, as Rear Adm. George M. Wikoff, commander of the strike group, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview.
Trump administration officials have signaled a more direct link to the India-China border conflict. “The message is clear,” Mark Meadows, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, told Fox News Monday. “Our military might stands strong and will continue to stand strong, whether it’s in relationship to a conflict between India and China or anywhere else.”