U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
Remarks to The Press
Press Briefing Room
July 15, 2020
SECRETARY POMPEO: Welcome. I want to start by marking two anniversaries. First, on July 11th, the United States and Vietnam celebrated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries. Quite an achievement.
And second, this week marks the anniversaries of two terrorist attacks by Iran-backed Hizballah: the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the 2012 suicide bomb targeting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria.
We continue to exert maximum pressure on Tehran and call on all responsible nations to join us in that.
Now, to the events of the day.
Yesterday President Trump signed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act and announced a series of actions through a presidential executive order.
As he said in May, if China treats Hong Kong as one country and a single system, so must we.
General Secretary Xi Jinping made a choice to violate the Chinese Communist Party’s promises to Hong Kong in – that were made in a UN-registered treaty. He didn’t have to do that; he made that choice.
We have to deal with China as it is, not as we wish it to be.
Other nations are arriving at the same conclusion. Australia and Canada have suspended their extradition treaties with the territory.
I leave on Monday for a quick trip to the United Kingdom and to Denmark, and I’m sure that the Chinese Communist Party and its threat to free peoples around the world will be high on top of that agenda.
We’ll certainly take time to discuss the UK’s commendable decision to ban Huawei gear from its 5G networks and phase out the equipment from its existing networks. The UK joins the United States and now many other democracies in becoming “Clean Countries” – nations free of untrusted 5G vendors. In the same way, many major telecom companies like Telefonica, Telco Italia, and NTT have become “Clean Carriers.”
After my London stop, I’m equally excited to meet with my counterparts from the Kingdom of Denmark. It’ll be a wonderful trip.
And the United States has a Huawei announcement of our own today.
The State Department will impose visa restrictions on certain employees of the Chinese – of Chinese technology companies like Huawei that provide material support to regimes engaging in human rights violations and abuses globally.
Last note on China: On Monday, for the first time, we made our policy on the South China Sea crystal clear. It’s not China’s maritime empire. If Beijing violates the international law and free nations do nothing, then history shows that the CCP will simply take more territory. That happened in the last administration.
Our statement gives significant support to ASEAN leaders who have declared that the South China Sea disputes must be resolved through international law, not “might makes right.”
What the CCP does to the Chinese people is bad enough, but the free world shouldn’t tolerate Beijing’s abuses as well.
Moving on. Today the Department of State is updating the public guidance for CAATSA authorities to include Nord Stream 2 and the second line of TurkStream 2.
This action puts investments or other activities that are related to these Russian energy export pipelines at risk of U.S. sanctions. It’s a clear warning to companies aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects will not be tolerated. Get out now, or risk the consequences.
Let me be clear: These aren’t commercial projects.
They are Kremlin’s key tools to exploit and expand European dependence on Russian energy supplies, tools that undermine Ukraine by cutting off gas transiting that critical democracy, a tool that ultimately undermines transatlantic security.
The United States is always ready to help our European friends meet their energy needs. Today I have with me Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Energy Resources Frank Fannon, who will take questions here when I’m complete with respect to this action.
A second Russia-related matter: I want to express the United States’ deep sadness at the reported killing yesterday of a Ukrainian military medic.
We join the people of Ukraine in condemning the ongoing, brutal aggression of Russia-led forces in the Donbas and pay tribute to Ukrainians killed and wounded fighting for their democracy.
The United States and Kenya launched the first round of negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement on July 8th. Our vision is to conclude a comprehensive, very high-standard agreement with Kenya that can serve as a model for the entire continent.
In the Caucasus region, the United States is deeply concerned about the recent deadly violence along the Armenia-Azerbaijan international border. We offer our condolences to all of the victims. We urge the sides to de-escalate immediately and re-establish a meaningful dialogue and a ceasefire to resume substantive negotiations with the Minsk Group as co-chairs.
A little closer to home. Today, I’m announcing visa restrictions on individuals responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Guyana. Immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to restrictions. The Granger government must respect the results of democratic elections and step aside.
A few weeks back, I think right here, I called out the Pan-American Health Organization for failing to disclose details of the Mais Medicos program that used Cuba’s slave trade in doctors to rake in more than $1 billion. Today I welcome that organization – PAHO’s decision to initiate an independent review.
Regarding Venezuela, the UN has found yet more harrowing evidence of gross human rights violations by the illegitimate Maduro regime, citing more than 1,300 extrajudicial executions for political reasons in 2020 alone. International pressure on Maduro must continue until the Venezuelan people can reclaim their democracy.
A final item on the Western Hemisphere this morning: The United States officially assumed the chair of the Summit of Americas process on Friday of this week past. We’re looking forward to hosting the ninth Summit of Americas in 2021.
Since I last spoke to you, the department has notified Congress of almost $25 billion more in potential foreign military sales, including a proposed sale to Japan of 105 F-35 Lightning fighter jets valued at up to $23 billion. It’s the second-largest sale – single sale notification in U.S. history. This sale and others accompanying it continue to demonstrate the robust global demand for American defense partnerships.
We’re helping the world in other ways too. Today we’re providing an additional $208 million to the most vulnerable nations to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing our total now to more than $1.5 billion since the outbreak began. Pretty remarkable charity from the United States people.
But no American export, no amount of money is as important as our principles. Tomorrow I’ll be at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. I’ll present the public report of the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights.
As I explained at the Claremont Institute last year and again at Kansas State University during the Landon Lecture, this administration grounds our practice of foreign policy in America’s founding principles. There is nothing more fundamental to who we are than our reverence for unalienable rights, the basic God-given rights that every human being possesses.
Whether defending the American people from threats, supporting international religious freedom, or encouraging countries to secure property rights by upholding the rule of law, America defends rights and does good in the world. And tomorrow you get to hear some of my thoughts on the commission’s fine recommendations that are encompassed in the report that they’ve been working on now so diligently and for so long.