The US on Friday criticised the Chinese Army for "escalating" the border tension with India and described the ruling Chinese Communist Party as a "rogue actor."
Launching a scathing attack on the Chinese government, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Chinese Communist Party 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 early in the week.
In his virtual address on "Europe and the China Challenge" during the 2020 Copenhagen Democracy Summit on Friday, 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 companies 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.
"The CCP isn't just a rogue actor in its own neighbourhood. 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.
Even now, months into the pandemic, China has not provided access to live virus samples, facilities, or information about patients in December in Wuhan, he said.
China is pushing disinformation and malicious cyber campaigns to undermine governments and to drive a wedge between the US and Europe, Pompeo said.
"It's saddling developing nations with debt and dependency. It's strong-arming nations to do business with Huawei, an arm of the CCP's surveillance state. It's flagrantly attacking European sovereignty by buying up ports and critical infrastructure from Piraeus to Valencia," said the top American diplomat.
"We must take off the golden blinders of economic ties and see that the China challenge isn't just at the gates; it's in every capital. Every investment from a Chinese state-owned enterprise should be viewed with suspicion," he said.
"Europe faces a China challenge, just as the United States does, and just as our South American, African, Middle Eastern, and Asian friends do. As I said earlier this week to my EU counterparts, I know there's fear in Europe that the United States wants you to choose between us and China," he said.
"It's the Chinese Communist Party that's forcing the choice. The party wants you to throw away the progress we in the free world have made, through NATO and other institutions "formal and informal" and adopt a new set of rules and norms that accommodate Beijing," Pompeo said.