National Security

Touring Eastern Europe, Pompeo Blasts China and Russia

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Touring Eastern Europe this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized the threat of Chinese and Russian anti-democratic aggression in a series of speeches and visits.

Pompeo is touring Poland, Slovenia, Austria, and the Czech Republic, addressing security partnerships, the future of democracy in Europe, and increasingly belligerent behavior from Moscow and Beijing. 

"As President Havel once reminded us, we must commit not to ‘live the lie' but to ‘live in the truth.' And here's what's true: China's world dominance is not inevitable. We are the authors of our fate," Pompeo said Wednesday during a speech in Prague.

Pompeo's visit comes at a critical time for Central and Eastern Europe. While much of the region begins to close the door on Chinese telecom giant Huawei, some countries remain open to Chinese investment. Last week, Serbia announced the purchase of new missile systems from China.

In his remarks, Pompeo emphasized the need for a coalition of democracies to counter authoritarianism. 

"It will take us working together here in Prague, in Poland, in Portugal. We have the obligation to speak clearly and plainly to our people and without fear. We must confront the complex questions presented by this challenge, and we must do so together," he said.

Although he focused on the rising threat posed by China, Pompeo also spent time warning American allies about the Kremlin's activities.

"Russia continues to seek to undermine your democracy, your security through disinformation campaigns and through cyberattacks. It's even trying to rewrite your history," he said Wednesday.

Pompeo also announced his efforts to jointly pressure Moscow with allies over the country's crackdown on press freedom.

"We've condemned [Russian press censorship]. We've also imposed enormous sanctions on Russia for other elements of their malign activity," Pompeo said. "We hope that the rest of the world will join us in this. We hope that those nations that value the freedom of press, who want independent reporters to be able to ask questions, even if sometimes leaders don't like them, will join with us."