04 December 2018 | Robin Emmott | Reuters
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s top diplomat promised on Tuesday a new democratic world order in which Washington will strengthen or jettison international agreements as it sees fit to stop “bad actors” such as Russia, China and Iran from gaining.
In a twist on Trump’s “America First” policy, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Trump was not abandoning its global leadership but instead reshaping the post-World War Two system on the basis of sovereign states, not multilateral institutions.
“In the finest traditions of our great democracy, we are rallying the noble nations to build a new liberal order that prevents war and achieves greater prosperity,” Pompeo told diplomats and officials in a foreign policy speech.
“We are acting to preserve, protect, and advance an open, just, transparent and free world of sovereign states,” Pompeo said, adding that China’s ability to benefit from the current U.S.-led system of trade and other agreements was an example of “the poisoned fruit of American retreat.”
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Pompeo’s statements “did not accord with the spirit” of the meeting just days earlier between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Argentina.
“I don’t know for what purpose someone would applaud then and now say something like this,” Geng said, referring to media reports that applause broke out after Xi and Trump agreed to a trade war ceasefire at their meeting in Argentina.
Geng said that while the United States “flies the flag of America First, and wields the baton of protectionism and unilateralism”, China was an important contributor to multilateralism, the international rules-based order and global economic development.
Pompeo, a former Army officer who is regarded as a Trump loyalist with hawkish world views, said Trump was also pushing both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to stop funding countries such as China, saying they already had access to financial markets to raise capital.
Pompeo’s address, which was met with polite applause, rejected concerns among many traditional U.S. allies that Trump is undermining the West by withdrawing from climate, free-trade and arms control accords.
Pompeo said such criticism was “plain wrong.”