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Washington, D.C. – At a Senate Foreign Relations hearing today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) regarding the economic and security threats posed by China. A video of the exchange is available here. Rough and partial transcripts of the exchange are below:
 
On Trade with China
RUBIO: The only ways that seem to work in response to their aggression are two things. The first is committed and sustained escalation across the relationship, meaning you carve out pieces of it. They do it that way. We have to do it that way. Our whole relationship, sustained and committed pressure.
 
And the other is invoking the help of our foreign partners. And what I'm troubled by in regards to the administration posture on this is on the working with invoking the help of our foreign partners has become complicated because we're currently engaged with trade disputes with the E.U. and Japan, Mexico and Canada, which we should have teamed up with to confront them. And I understand trade is an issue that needs to be addressed, but I don't know why we didn't address China first together and dealt with our allies second.
 
On Chinese Telecom firm ZTE
RUBIO: I think the single biggest national security threat in the long term to the United States is China. I mean, for the first time since the end of the Cold War we are in competition with a near-peer adversary. It's not just military. It’s economic. It’s technological. It’s  geopolitical and the like. We've seen their impressive and massive military buildup, the quantum leaps they’re making in technology.  We see that the work they are undertaking to sort of destroy the U.S. world order and rebuild it to one more of their liking. We've seen the gains they've made in 5G alone. China Mobile will be the only company in the world that can build stand-alone 5G networks by 2020.

And what’s really outrageous is many of these advances are not the result of hard work and ingenuity. They’re also result of intellectual property theft, forced transfers and the like. This is part of a tactic that they've been using for a while.

 
ZTE is more than a sanctions threat to the United States. It is part of a broader telecommunication threat that the Chinese industry has posed to the United States. And to threaten to shut them down and then pull back from it, is not the sort of committed and sustained escalation across the entire relationship. The carving out of one company sends them the message that they can pick away at different parts of that relationship and undermine our willingness to sustain pressure on them to get a better equilibrium. So I don’t know what the State Department’s role was in that decision. But moving forward, what is our broader strategic approach to the threat that China poses? Because they don't seek parity, they seek to overtake us.
 
POMPEO: Senator, you have laid out what I think is the principal challenge for the United States over the coming years, maybe decade: the issue of China. They have a lot of folks and a big economy. That puts them in the position to be a competitor to the United States in the way a country like Russia with an economy smaller than Italy's can't maintain over some period of time. And so we do need a broad comprehensive response, and I think all of the West, not just the United States, was too slow in seeing this. Your point about how they turned up the heat slowly over time. I think that recognition is there. But I don't believe that the structures are in place today to respond to that in a way comprehensively.
 
I was with our Australian partners yesterday at a meeting with Secretary Mattis and myself and our Australian counterparts. They, too, just passed a set of noninterference rules on China. They are getting up to speed in the same way you all took a look at CFIUS and FIRRMA. We’re getting up to speed. We’re beginning to strike that comprehensive response to China that I think will ultimately do what has historically happen: allow America to prevail.