Capitol Report: Pompeo to give China speech as tensions with U.S. flare

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to deliver a China-policy speech on Thursday, as tensions flare between Beijing and Washington in the wake of the U.S. ordering the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston.

The State Department says Pompeo will deliver remarks on “Communist China and the Free World’s Future” at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, Calif., at 1:40 p.m. local time.

China said Wednesday that the Houston consulate closure was an “unprecedented escalation,” and vowed retaliation if the decision wasn’t reversed. The State Department said the move was made to protect U.S. intellectual property and private information. It came after two Chinese hackers were accused on Tuesday by the Justice Department of stealing trade secrets and trying to pilfer research on coronavirus vaccine candidates.

Read:China says its consulate in Houston has been ordered shut.

Pompeo’s will be the fourth in a series of addresses on China by top Trump administration officials.

Also see:Barr blasts Apple and Google as ‘all too willing’ to cooperate with China.

“We put together a series of remarks aimed at making sure the American people understood the ongoing, serious threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party to our fundamental way of life here in the United States of America,” Pompeo told the Washington Times earlier this week.

The State Department is preparing for Beijing to close one or more U.S. consulates in China after Washington ordered the abrupt shutdown of the Chinese consulate in Houston, the Wall Street Journal reported.

With the November presidential election approaching, President Donald Trump has ramped up criticism of China over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak. The initial cases of the virus occurred in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and Trump as recently as Tuesday has called it the “China virus.” He has also accused presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden of being soft on China.

U.S. stocks DJIA, -0.35% on Thursday opened lower after an increase in weekly new claims for jobless benefits, and as the White House and Senate Republicans announced progress toward an agreement on a new aid package for businesses and households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.