US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday (local time) criticized the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for not only displaying its "rogue" attitude in its neighbourhood, particularly the recent escalation of border tension with India, but also for "pushing disinformation and malicious cyber campaigns so as to drive a wedge between the US and Europe."
"It's the Chinese Communist Party that's forcing the choice," Pompeo said during an online conference on democracy held in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Pompeo who earlier this week met a senior Chinese official in Hawaii where he held closed-door talks at a time when relations between the two nations have plummeted over numerous disputes, said "Europe faces a China challenge" as does the rest of the world.
Launching a scathing attack on the Chinese government, the State Secretary further said that the CCP wants to undo all the progress the free world has made through institutions like NATO and adopt a new set of rules and norms that accommodate Beijing.
"The PLA (People's Liberation Army) has escalated border tensions with India, the world's most populous democracy. It's militarising the South China Sea and illegally claiming more territory there, threatening vital sea lanes," Pompeo said, a day after he expressed deep condolences to India on the death of 20 soldiers in violent clashes with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Ladakh on June 15.
The top American diplomat said that for many years, the West, in an era of hope, believed they could change the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and improve the lives of the Chinese people along the way.
"Along the way, the CCP took advantage of our goodwill while assuring us they wanted a cooperative relationship. As (former Chinese politician) Deng Xiaoping said 'Hide your strength, bide your time.' I've talked in other venues about why this happened. It's a complicated story. It's no one's fault," Pompeo said.
Over decades, European and American compes have invested in China with great optimism. It outsourced supply chains to places like Shenzhen, opened education institutions for PLA-affiliated students and welcomed Chinese state-backed investment in their countries, he said.
But the CPC decreed an end to freedom in Hong Kong, violating an UN-registered treaty and the rights of its citizens. This is one of many international treaties the party has violated, the secretary said.
"General Secretary Xi Jinping has greenlighted a brutal campaign of repression against Chinese Muslims, a human rights violation on a scale we haven't seen since World War II. Now, the PLA has escalated border tensions with India," he said.
The clash in Galwan Valley is the biggest confrontation between the two militaries after their 1967 clashes in Nathu La when India lost around 80 soldiers while the death toll on the Chinese side was over 300.
The Chinese soldiers used stones, nail-studded sticks, iron rods and clubs in carrying out brutal attacks on Indian soldiers after they protested the erection of a surveillance post by China on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control in Galwan.
It lied about the coronavirus and let it spread to the rest of the world, while pressuring the WHO to assist its cover-up campaign. Hundreds of thousands of people have died, and the global economy has been decimated, Pompeo said.
Washington and Beijing are at odds over trade, China's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, human rights, the status of Hong Kong and increasing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea.
On the other hand, China has also become a key issue in the 2020 presidential campaign.
( With inputs from ANI )