Mike Pompeo appeared to rattle markets a bit on Tuesday morning during remarks carried by various media outlets.
Trump’s top diplomat weighed in on a variety of geopolitical issues, including, of course, Hong Kong. “A peaceful resolution would be best for China”, Pompeo said, adding that Beijing “should respect Hong Kong people’s right to speak”.
Although the Secretary of State said he anticipates talks with the Chinese will continue “at least over the phone” for the next week or two, he emphasized the national security risk posed by Huawei. His comments come a day after Wilbur Ross granted a 90-day reprieve for US businesses to keep dealing with the company.
Pompeo noted that Huawei isn’t the only Chinese company that poses a threat to the US, a comment which should surprise nobody considering the US has already sought to blacklist at least a half-dozen companies and all manner of subsidiaries and associated entities.
Expounding a bit on Hong Kong in an interview with CNBC, Pompeo suggested striking a trade deal with Beijing would be considerably more difficult in there was a violent resolution to the civil unrest.
“If it ends in a way that there was violence — the president said something like Tiananmen Square — that it would make it more difficult”, he mused.
The Trump administration has repeatedly played the Tiananmen Square card in 2019 (the 30th anniversary of the dubious historical tragedy). Mike Pence was scheduled to make a speech decrying Beijing’s human rights record over the summer, but it was delayed and ultimately nixed in the interest of striking a trade deal.
“I hope that the trade negotiations move forward, and I hope that Hong Kong is resolved in a peaceful way”, Mike said. “Those would be the best outcomes for both China and the United States”.
That’s just a more diplomatic way of saying what Trump said last week, when he told reporters on the tarmac “I hope nobody gets killed”.
China has repeatedly warned the US against leveraging the Hong Kong situation in the trade talks, and Pompeo’s comments come less than 24 hours after Twitter and Facebook revealed a state-sponsored propaganda campaign linked to Beijing.