As Biden assumes office, China sanctions Pompeo, other Trump officials
China on Wednesday said it was levying sanctions on over two dozen officials of the Donald Trump administration for violating the sovereignty of the nation with "crazy" policy moves. Among the 28 officials to be sanctioned is Mike Pompeo, the former United States Secretary of State. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the ex-officials were "anti-China politicians" who undermined the relationship between both nations.
'They seriously disrupted China-US relations'
In the strongly-worded statement, released after Biden took oath, the Chinese foreign ministry said, "(They) have planned, promoted and executed a series of crazy moves which have gravely interfered in China's internal affairs, undermined China's interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-US relations." The individuals and their family members have been restricted from entering China, Hong Kong, or Macau, or doing business with the nation.
Steve Bannon and John Bolton included in the list
Among those named by Beijing were Peter Navarro, the former trade adviser; Robert O'Brien, the former national security adviser, as well as his former deputy Matt Pottinger; Alex Azar, the former health secretary; and Kelly Craft, the former US Ambassador to the United Nations. Steve Bannon, Trump's aide who was pardoned, and John Bolton, the former security adviser, were also included in the list.
Bolton happy with the 'prestigious recognition'
The number of US officials to be sanctioned by China now stands at nearly 44, according to Bloomberg. The States has also sanctioned a comparable number of Chinese officials. A pleased Bolton tweeted, "I've been sanctioned by the Communist Chinese government for 'nasty behavior.' Great news for an inauguration day! I accept this prestigious recognition of my unrelenting efforts to defend American freedom. (sic)"
Before leaving office, Pompeo slammed China for ill-treating Uighurs
To note, less than 24 hours before he was to leave office, Pompeo fired fresh salvo at the Chinese administration over the "genocide" of Uighur Muslims. "I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uighurs by the Chinese party-state," his declaration read. He reminded that Nazis were also accused of crimes against humanity.
In last message, Trump claimed 'he stood up to China'
Evidently, Trump remained at loggerheads with China for the most part of his four-year-long tenure over various issues like trade and security. He also blamed China for the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in late 2019. In fact, in his farewell message, Trump proudly asserted, "We revitalized our alliances and rallied the nations of the world to stand up to China like never before."
White House dubbed the sanctions imposed by China 'unproductive'
Reacting to the sanctions imposed, the White House said it was an "unproductive" move. "Imposing these sanctions on Inauguration Day is seemingly an attempt to play to partisan divides," a National Security Council spokesperson said. But taking another tone, Greg Gilligan, the Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, suggested the Biden administration wouldn't stop its quest to ease tensions with Beijing.
Antony Blinken agreed with Pompeo on China's treatment of Uighurs
While China would naturally want the Biden administration to work toward mending ties, its officials hinted earlier they don't have high opinions about the Asian nation. Antony Blinken, Biden's selection for Secretary of State, agreed with Pompeo's assessment of China committing genocide against minority Muslims. "That would be my judgment as well. I think we are very much in agreement," he said on Tuesday.