Pompeo insists that ‘the situation is changing’ in China at a controversial hearing in the US Senate.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted Thursday that “the situation is changing” in deals with China, citing international support for Washington’s policies even as he expressed “dismay” at the number of countries supporting Beijing’s new security law for Hong Kong

Reflecting mounting tensions between the world’s two largest economies, Pompeo emphasized President Donald Trump’s tough line on China at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing where he repeatedly clashed with lawmakers over administrative policies.

It was Pompeo’s first public testimony before the panel in 15 months.

“Under his watch, the United States has faced setback after setback on the world stage, ceding influence and influence to our avowed adversaries,” said Senator Bob Menéndez, the committee’s highest-ranking Democrat.

Pompeo said that other countries are supporting initiatives such as the push not to use the equipment of the Chinese technological giant Huawei Technologies in 5G networks and the intense maritime maneuvers in the South China Sea.

“Our vigorous diplomacy has helped lead an international awakening to the threat from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party). Senators, the situation is changing, “said Pompeo.

Washington and Beijing recently closed one of the other consulates and Pompeo recently announced the end of Hong Kong’s special trade status.

However, Pompeo also pointed out the difficulty of forming an international alliance, given China’s economic strength. He said he was “surprised and shocked” by the number of countries that supported Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Pompeo also said that Trump has not supported Russian President Vladimir Putin, but declined to directly address reports that Russia offered rewards for killing US soldiers in Afghanistan. “The right people have been aware of all the threats to our soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan.”

He defended the decision to withdraw thousands of troops from Germany, which some lawmakers have called Russia a gift. Republican Senator Mitt Romney said senior German officials considered the withdrawal “an insult to Germany.”

Pompeo said Germany did not appear to recognize Russia’s threat, and said more U.S. sanctions could be revealed for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Moscow to Europe.

Committee Democrats released a report this week harshly criticizing Pompeo’s mandate, saying it had hurt diplomacy by leaving jobs open for months, abusing career diplomats and promoting a culture of retaliation.

FILE PHOTO: United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens during a press conference at the United States Department of State after the 30th AUSMIN in Washington, DC, July 28, 2020. Brendan Smialowski / Pool via REUTERS

Lawmakers asked Pompeo about Trump’s abrupt dismissal in May of Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general, who was investigating the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia and allegations that Pompeo improperly ordered a US-funded subordinate. taxpayers who were in charge of doing personal errands.

Pompeo denied wrongdoing and repeated previous claims that Linick had leaked information incorrectly.

Reports by Patricia Zengerle and Daphne Psaledakis; Lincoln Feast, Jonathan Oatis and Paul Simao edition

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