Chinese state media has delivered a scathing attack on outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, after his barrage of anti-Beijing tweets over the weekend followed a raft of last-minute sanctions targeting China.
Pompeo took to Twitter over the weekend to lambast the Communist Party of China over a series of matters, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic in its infancy.
It came after he released a “fact sheet” which claimed to have information that could indicate the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, calling on the World Health Organisation to investigate thoroughly as a team of scientists belatedly arrive in China.
In a raft of sanctions pushed through by the Trump administration, six Hong Kong or Chinese officials blamed for new security laws have also had their US-related assets frozen on Friday.
Another swipe at China came on Thursday as sanctions were slapped on officials and big Chinese companies for alleged misdeeds in the South China Sea. An investment ban was imposed on nine more firms.
Last Saturday, Pompeo said he was lifting restrictions on contacts between US officials and counterparts in Taiwan in a move that greatly angered Beijing.
State tabloid the Global Times, led by their outspoken editor-in-chief Hu Xijin, hit back at Pompeo late on Sunday branding him a “lunatic”.
“It seems that he has gone insane,” it said in an editorial.
“Pompeo is the savage destroyer of the transitional tradition and rules of US foreign policy.
“He is more evil than the rioters at Capitol Hill.”
In response to Pompeo’s last-minute sanctions push, the Global Times said he had done so for personal gain.
“Obviously, he holds a morbid fascination with this post and is making use of the last few days to show off his presence and leave some diplomatic legacy to the incoming Biden administration.
“Pompeo's crazy show is a manifestation of the extreme, irrational and irresponsible China policy of the US in the past few years.”
Ultimatum delivered to Biden
The Global Times called on incoming president Joe Biden to reverse the decisions, warning of a further deterioration in relations if he does not.
“If policies such as sanctions on Chinese companies released in the last few days are implemented, and US officials having no restrictions in engaging with Taiwan becomes the new starting point for the Biden administration to deal with the Taiwan question, the China-US relationship is bound to suffer a larger crisis than it experienced in the past four years.”
The editorial warned if the Trump administration had issued such sanctions years earlier, it “may have led to war”.
While Biden will review the US’s ties with China, there is no indication he will take a significantly softer approach than his predecessor, albeit without the brazen tactics.
“China's focus has shifted to the Biden team which has a window to rectify the extreme policies of its previous administration,” the Global Times said.
“We hope the Biden team is determined enough to cast out all the time bombs set by Pompeo and make way for a clear bottom line for China-US relations.”
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