US State Secretary Mike Pompeo once again blasted at Beijing on Tuesday (local time) and urged nations to push back against the Asian giant, disgruntled on the fact that rather than helping the world during this Covid crisis, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is bullying its neighbours and militarise features in the South China Sea.
Following his talks with British foreign secretary Dominic Raab, Pompeo used the press to accuse China of engaging in "a cover-up and co-opting" the World Health Organisation by allegedly suppressing early details of the "preventable" coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 610,000 people globally.
"The CCP's exploitation of this disaster to further its own interests has been disgraceful. Rather than helping the world, General Secretary Xi has shown the world the party's true face. We talked about how we have seen Hong Kong's freedoms crushed. We have watched the CCP bully its neighbours, militarise features in the South China Sea, and instigate a deadly confrontation with India," the American top diplomat said at a press briefing.
"We think that the entire world needs to work together to ensure that every country, including China, behaves in the international system in ways that are appropriate and consistent with the international order. You cannot go make claims for maritime regions that you have no lawful claim to. You cannot threaten countries and bully them in the Himalayas. You cannot engage in cover-ups and co-opt international institutions like the World Health Organisation," he added.
Pompeo met British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the heat of an emerging crisis in relations between London and Beijing over everything from China's treatment of Hong Kong to its persecution of over one million ethnic Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities.
Pompeo's last visit to London was in January this year, just days after Johnson ignored Washington's warnings and allowed Huawei to take a leading role in building Britain's next-generation mobile data network.
This time amid a tense standoff between the United States and China, the State Secretary utilised the opportunity to congratulate the British government for deciding to remove Huawei equipment from Britain's 5G networks and said it has "generously opened its doors" to the Hong Kong people, halted the extradition treaty with Hong Kong and introduced an arms embargo on weapons that could be used against protesters.
"We support those sovereign choices, we think well done," he added.
Pompeo praised the relationship between the US and the UK but said every country needs to be wary of China.
Meanwhile, Raab said he and Pompeo had discussed their "serious concerns" about the situation in Hong Kong and that they talked about raising the issue of China's actions at the "G7 level".
He said there was "no question of strong-arming" over the decision to ban Huawei but said after the US imposed sanctions on China, blocking the use of American-made chips, the UK had to "look for a clear-sighted perspective".
Raab appeared positive about a free trade deal being agreed with the US, saying that the current annual PS3bn in turnover between British and US businesses can increase.
Pompeo further welcomed the enduring strength of the special partnership and both the leaders discussed the Five Eyes partners, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and US, taking an ambitious approach to the technologies of the future.
The diplomats said they also spoke about their shared global policy, China's actions in Hong Kong and the Uighur Xinjiang region, and the death of teenager Harry Dunn outside a US airbase in Northamptonshire.