Speaking at a forum in Bangkok, where he was attending meetings with regional foreign ministers, Pompeo said that U.S. investments around the world, unlike China’s, “don’t serve a government, or a political party, or a country’s imperial ambitions.”
“Ask yourself this: Who really puts the people’s interests first? A trading power who respects your sovereignty or one that scoffs at it?” Pompeo said.
“Who really fosters innovation and reform? Private sector companies or state-owned enterprises? … Who really encourages self-sufficiency and independence? Investors who are working to meet your consumers’ needs or those who entrap you in debt?”
China’s 1-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, a sweeping international infrastructure development plan, has been criticized as a “debt trap” for countries that participate in it.
“We’re not building roads to pave over your national sovereignty. We don’t fund bridges to close gaps of loyalty,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo said a day earlier that the U.S. was not asking its ASEAN allies to “choose sides” amidst his country’s ongoing trade war with China.
(Edited by Emmanuel Hashim)