China, Iran, Russia on agenda as Pompeo testifies in US Senate

Clay Curtis
July 31, 2020

"We will work through multilateral and regional institutions to strengthen a rules-based cyberspace", Mr. O'Farrell said, adding that Australia had announced a record allocation for cyber security, more than ₹7000 crore (AUD1.35 billion) and recruit 500 new experts.

Pompeo said other countries are supporting initiatives like the push not to use Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies' equipment in 5G networks and stepped-up maritime maneuvers in the South China Sea.

Tensions are rising between Washington and Beijing after tit-for-tat consulate closures and a speech on "the China threat" by United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Mike Pompeo virtually designated China America's new number one adversary by telling the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee that Washington sees "the Chinese Communist Party for what it is: the central threat of our times".

At the same time, she said Australia did not agree on everything with Beijing - or with the United States. That has led to friction with other countries in the region and concerns about freedom of navigation.

Pompeo insisted the "tide is turning" in dealings with China, citing worldwide support for Washington's policies even as he expressed "dismay" at the number of countries supporting Beijing's new security law for Hong Kong. We have no intention of injuring it.

Payne said Australia and the U.S. had a close and enduring relationship but made their own decisions based on their values.

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Earlier this month, the United States shifted its policy on disputes in the South China Sea.

However, Pompeo also noted the difficulty of forming an global alliance, given China's economic strength.

Lawmakers are also likely to ask Pompeo about President Donald Trump's abrupt firing in May of Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general, as he investigated arms sales to Saudi Arabia and allegations that Pompeo improperly ordered a taxpayer-funded subordinate to handle personal errands.

Responding to a question, Pompeo rejected the suggestion that the administration's approach was unworkable. What have Americans gained from engaging with China over the last 50 years?

"This is about choosing freedom and democracy against tyranny and authoritarian regime, and I am confident that the democracies, our transatlantic Alliance.know precisely, which side of that debate they want to be on".

While Washington is Australia's main security ally, China is its biggest trading partner.

China has slapped tariffs on some Australian food - and warned students and tourists against travelling there, citing accusations of racism.

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