The Chinese threat to India and Southeast Asia is one of the reasons the United States is reducing its troop presence in Europe, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday in response to a question at the Brussels Forum virtual conference.
Pompeo was asked why the US had reduced the number of troops it has based in Germany. The US Secretary of State said that if US troops were no longer there, it was because they were being moved to face other places. The actions of the Chinese Communist Party meant there were “threats to India” and countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and the South China Sea. The US military is “postured appropriately” to meet these “challenges of our time”, he said.
Pompeo noted that the Trump administration had carried out a long-overdue strategic posture review of the US military two years ago. The US had carried out a fundamental relook at the threats it faced and how it should allocate its resources, including intelligence and military and cyber.
As part of this exercise, Pompeo said it was felt that the capacity to deter Russia or other adversaries wasn’t determined any longer “by having a bunch of folks garrisoned some place”.
“We are going to make sure we are postured appropriately to counter the PLA (People’s Liberation Army). We think that is the challenge of our time and we are going to make sure we have resources in place to do that”: Mike Pompeo
“So we really went back to fundamentally relook at what is the nature of the conflict, what is the nature of the threat and how should we allocate our resources. Whether that is our resources in the intelligence community, our resources in the air force, the marines. our broad set of allocations of the security apparatus,” he said.
“The decision that the President made with respect to Germany is an outcome of a collective set of decisions about how we are going to posture our resources around the world,” he said, pointing that this would imply that there would be fewer American resources in some places.
“There will be other places – I just talked about the threat from the Chinese Communist Party – … threats to India, threats to Vietnam, threats to Malaysia, Indonesia, South China Sea challenges, the Philippines. We are going to make sure we are postured appropriately to counter the PLA (People’s Liberation Army). We think that is the challenge of our time and we are going to make sure we have resources in place to do that,” he said.
Earlier, he announced the formation of a US-European dialogue on China so that the Atlantic alliance could have a “common understanding of the threat posed by China”. Pompeo said the two sides needed “a collective data set” on China’s action so the two could take action together.
Speaking about the Chinese threat, he cited the “bloody border confrontation with India,” Beijing’s South China Sea activity and its predatory economic policies as evidence.
Asked whether Huawei was part of the Chinese “surveillance state,” Pompeo said Chinese security force personnel worked on the top floor of the company headquarters and Chinese law required Huawei to pass any data, including personal data, to the Chinese Communist Party whenever the latter asked. He said there was more evidence that he could not state in public.
The day before the US foreign minister had tweeted: “The tide is turning toward trusted 5G vendors and away from Huawei. The world’s leading telecom companies-Telefonica, Orange, Jio, Telstra, and many more-are becoming ‘Clean Telcos.’ They are rejecting doing business with tools of the CCP surveillance state, like Huawei.”