Pompeo speaks at the Nixon Library. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo aimed directly for Xi Jinping in a speech Thursday night, calling the Chinese leader "a true believer in a bankrupt totalitarian ideology" and a would-be global hegemon.

Background: Pompeo's was the last in a quartet of speeches from top Trump administration officials laying out what they portray as a battle for the survival of the free world against Beijing and its enablers — including more dovish allies and major U.S. companies.

Pompeo spoke at the Nixon Library, symbolically slamming the door on five decades of U.S. engagement with China that began with Nixon.

Excerpts:

  • “If we want to have a free 21st century — and not the Chinese century of which Xi Jinping dreams — the whole paradigm of blind engagement with China simply won’t get it done."
  • “We must induce China to change in more creative and assertive ways because Beijing’s actions threaten our people and our prosperity.”
  • "General Secretary Xi is not destined to tyrannize inside and outside China forever unless we allow it."
  • “We’re all still wearing masks and watching the body count rise because the [Chinese Communist Party] failed in its promises to the world."

My thought bubble: There's something discordant about this rhetorical onslaught from the administration, given we're months away from an election and the president's attention is elsewhere (as Pompeo was wrapping up, Trump canceled the Jacksonville convention).

  • Historians of the future tracing the breakdown of U.S.-China ties may ultimately pay the speeches more heed than many do today.

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Oct 26, 2020 - World

China to sanction Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon over Taiwan arms sales

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen during a visit to Penghu Air Force Base. Photo: Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images

China plans to impose unspecified sanctions on Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and other U.S. companies involved in weapons sales to Taiwan, Reuters reports, citing a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

Why it matters: The Trump administration last week notified Congress of an additional $1.8 billion in proposed arms sales to Taiwan. China's recent military exercises and the buildup of forces along its southeastern coast have renewed fears of an invasion of Taiwan, which Beijing views as a breakaway province that must be brought under its control.

Oct 27, 2020 - World

Senators introduce bipartisan resolution to label Xinjiang abuses "genocide"

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

A cadre of bipartisan senators introduced a resolution on Tuesday to formally label the Chinese government's human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the region of Xinjiang as "genocide."

Why it matters: China has faced global backlash for its repression in Xinjiang, where ethnic minorities are subject to surveillance, torture and detention in mass "re-education" camps. But genocide is a serious crime under international law, and the U.S. invokes the formal label only in rare cases.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 27, 2020 - Economy & Business

The U.S.-China cold war is coming to financial markets

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Ant Group's $34.5 billion IPO will make the Chinese fintech company the largest listing ever, and its choice to list its shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai rather than New York City marks a pivotal moment that could see the financial industry move towards China.

Why it matters: "This was the first time such a big listing, the largest in human history, was priced outside New York City," Ant Group founder Jack Ma told the Bund Summit in Shanghai Saturday. "We wouldn’t have dared to think about it five years, or even three years ago."