Pompeo rallies G7 to counter Chinese Communist Party disinformation

For the first time in a generation, an American secretary of state has worked with foreign leaders to aggressively coordinate a strategy against foreign state-sponsored disinformation. Secretary Mike Pompeo worked with six of America’s closest allies and economic partners to counter Communist China’s shrill disinformation campaign against the US over the coronavirus.

Pompeo told reporters on March 25 of his impromptu teleconference with his G7 counterparts. The G7 is the group of the world’s seven most advanced economies, all of which are military allies. In addition to the US, the members are Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

Pompeo left no room for doubt that the Trump Administration is targeting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The secretary of state had been building up the nation’s strategic response to CCP disinformation and propaganda as the Center for Security Policy described on March 22 and March 25.

Pompeo indicated that he is coordinating resistance to CCP disinformation among the G7 member nations. He repeatedly went after the “Communist Party” – not the Chinese government – and made a distinction between the CCP and the Chinese people. He went out of his way to say “Wuhan Virus” three times, showing the regime that he would not be cowed by its insistence that he not call it by its place of origin.

Here are the highlights of Pompeo’s historic comments as they concern China:

  • G7 is unified against CCP, Russia, Iran, North Korea. “First, we [in the G-7 meeting] spent a substantial amount of time on threats posed by authoritarian states.”
  • CCP a ‘substantial threat to our health and way of life.’ “The Chinese Communist Party poses a substantial threat to our health and way of life, as the Wuhan virus outbreak clearly has demonstrated.”
  • CCP is a subversive threat to freedom. “The CCP also threatens to undermine the free and open order that has underpinned our mutual prosperity and safety in the G7 countries.”
  • CCP is ‘malign influence’ in world organizations & will be resisted. “I urged every one of the [G7] countries to work together to protect the UN and other organizations from its malign influence and authoritarianism.”
  • G7 has shared values that CCP opposes. “We G7 countries must promote our shared values of freedom, sovereignty, good governance, transparency, and accountability, and push the UN to uphold these principles as well.”
  • USA tried to work with CCP to fight the virus. “We’ve wanted to work with the Chinese Communist Party throughout this crisis – this crisis that began in Wuhan, China.”
  • CCP would not permit US to help on the ground. “We tried – you’ll remember – from the opening days to get our scientists, our experts on the ground there so that we could begin to assist in the global response to what began there in China, but we weren’t able to do that.  The Chinese Communist Party wouldn’t permit that to happen.”
  • Chinese regime knew. But it delayed sharing lifesaving information. “You’ll recall, too, at the beginning of this, when it was clear that this was an issue, China knew about it, they were the first country to know about the risk to the world from this virus, and they repeatedly delayed sharing that information with the globe.”
  • US wants to help everyone, including China, recover from ‘Wuhan virus.’ “So yes, we desperately want to work with every country around the world.  This is a global pandemic; this is something the United States wants to work with every country, including China, to figure out how to resolve to keep as many people alive, as many people as healthy, and then to restore our economies that have been decimated by the Wuhan virus.”
  • And the US wants to help the Chinese people, too. “So we are – we are prepared to work with them, we’re prepared to assist them. We want good things for the Chinese people as well.”
  • US is coordinating G7 response to CCP disinformation. “There was a lot of discussion today amongst the G7 about the intentional disinformation campaign that China has been and continues to be engaged in.  You see it.  You see it in the social media.  You see it in remarks from senior people inside the Chinese Communist Party talking about whether this was a US – US brought to China.  I mean, this is crazy talk.  And every member of the G7 today saw that – this disinformation campaign.”
  • Chinese international aid isn’t very much. “China now making small sales of product around the world and claiming that they are now the white hat in what has taken place here.”
  • CCP disinformation diverted G7 from addressing pandemic. “This isn’t a time for blame; this is a time to solve this global problem. We are focused on that today.  It’s where the G7 members spent all of their time.  But every one of the nations that was at that meeting this morning was deeply aware of the disinformation campaign that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in to try and deflect from what has really taken place here.”
  • G7 members may have tactical differences but are united on strategy. “And with respect to the statement, I always think about these meetings the right answer is to make sure we have the same message coming out of it.  I am confident that when you hear the other six foreign ministers speak, they will have a common understanding of what we talked about today and we will talk about the things that we have agreement on, and I’m sure they’ll express a handful of places – like the JCPOA [Iran nuclear deal] – where we have tactical differences about – to achieve our strategic outcomes.”
  • G7 is united on ‘Wuhan virus’ and economic recovery. “Make no mistake about it, everyone in that meeting this morning was very focused on making sure that we not only solve the health crisis associated with the Wuhan virus but also the economic challenges that face the globe as we confront it as well.”

The full text of Pompeo’s March 25 remarks appears here.

About J Michael Waller

J. Michael Waller is Vice President for Government Affairs at the Center for Security Policy. His areas of concentration are propaganda, political warfare, psychological warfare, and subversion. He is the former Walter and Leonore Annenberg Professor of International Communication at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school in Washington, DC. A former instructor with the Naval Postgraduate School, he is an instructor/lecturer at the John F Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg.