Oct 20, 2020 12:09 UTC
  •  Pompeo smearing economic, trade cooperation between China, other countries: Beijing

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is “smearing” normal economic and trade ties between China and other countries, Beijing says.

The comments on Tuesday by China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian came after Pompeo warned during a virtual summit on increased US-Brazil cooperation on Monday that the two allies needed to reduce their dependence on imports from China for their own security.

When asked to comment on Pompeo’s remarks, Zhao said during his daily press briefing that some US politicians were trying to “sow discord,” without referring to Pompeo by name.

He further insisted that cooperation between China and Brazil was durable and had broad support in both countries.

Pompeo had said, “To the extent we can find ways that we can increase the trade between our two countries, we can… decrease each of our two nations’ dependence for critical items” coming from China.

The remarks came as the hawkish Trump administration is trying to boost ties with Brazil in a bid to provide a counterweight to its arch-rival China.

Despite the desire of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro to follow suit, he is constrained by China being the South American nation’s largest trade partner, which buys much of its soy and iron ore.

At the summit organized by the US Chamber of Commerce, Bolsonaro announced three accords with the US to ensure good business practices.

Pompeo to visit Sri Lanka, Maldives in bid to counter Chinese influence

Meanwhile, Pompeo is due to visit Sri Lanka and the Maldives this month, officials of both Indian Ocean countries announced on Tuesday, as Washington further seeks to counter Beijing’s growing influence in the region.

The top US diplomat will hold two-way talks in Colombo on October 28, according to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, who did not elaborate.

US, Japan, Australia conduct war games in South China Sea

The development came as the US’s Seventh Fleet announced on Tuesday that Japan and Australia had joined American forces to conduct trilateral naval drills in the South China Sea on October 19.

It was their fifth joint operation this year in the fleet’s area of operations, it added in a statement.

The US has been provoking China by conducting operations in the South China Sea, on much of which China exercises sovereignty.