LONDON—Arriving in London today to meet with British leaders, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the so-called UK-US special relationship is doing well.
“It’s thriving despite what you might read in the papers. We are ready to meet new challenges and face them together and seize on new opportunities as well,” he said at a press conference.
During a talk in London, he didn’t mince his words in reference to Chinese telecoms company Huawei, which has recently been a hot topic in the UK.
Pompeo implied that Theresa May would be failing to act like the former long-serving British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, if she allowed Huawei a role in the UK’s 5G network.
“Would the Iron Lady be silent when China violates the sovereignty of nations through corruption and coercion? Would she have welcomed the Belt and Road Initiative without demanding absolute transparency and the highest standards? Would she allow China to control the internet of the future?” he said.
He added, ” We know that 5G is a sovereign decision, we respect every nation’s right to make its own choices—but it must be made in the broader context, the broader strategic context of China’s efforts throughout the world.”
It’s well-documented that Huawei has close ties with the Chinese regime. A leak about Britain’s plan to allow Huawei a role in building its new 5G network has sparked controversy in the UK. It lead to the UK’s defense minister being sacked for allegedly leaking the plan from a National Security Council meeting.
Pompeo’s British counterpart, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, insisted the final decision has not been made.
“We are considering the evidence very carefully. But we will never take a decision that compromised our ability to share intelligence with Five Eyes colleagues and particularly with the United States,” Hunt said.
Pompeo visited London after abruptly cancelling a trip to Germany. He also made an unscheduled visit to Baghdad.
He said he expected all countries to take back their foreign fighters from Syria.
“When I was in Baghdad last night, I spent a great deal of time talking with the Iraqi leadership about this, and how we can all move forward to ensure that our children and grandchildren never have to fight these same terrorists again,” he said.
He also said that some politicians’ support for Venezuela’s illegitimate dictator Nicolas Maduro was disgusting.
Pompeo’s visit comes three weeks before President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK.