China says U.S. bullying countries to pick sides

Cheryl Sanders
October 23, 2020

China has been making increasing inroads into South Asia with its Belt and Road Initiative, aimed at financing critical infrastructure in dozens of countries across the world.

As Trump, Pompeo and other officials have ramped up criticism of China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the administration has also steadily increased pressure on Beijing's interests in the United well as imposing sanctions on Chinese officials, companies and government agencies for their actions in Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

Pompeo will conclude his trip, which comes in the final week before the USA presidential election, in Indonesia which is also locked in territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea.

Wednesday's announcement is the latest US step to curb Chinese activity in the United States in the run-up to the November 3 presidential election, in which President Donald Trump has made a tough approach to China a key foreign policy theme. It brought to 15 the number of Chinese media outlets so designated this year.

In a telephonic briefing with reporters, without explicitly naming China, US officials warned the Sri Lankan government about who they team up with for their economic partnerships.

"We urge Sri Lanka to make hard but necessary decisions to secure its economic independence for long-term prosperity", he said.

Pompeo said the move was part of efforts to push back against "Chinese communist propaganda efforts" in the United States. Similar measures had earlier been imposed on nine Chinese outlets.

He said he expected the meetings would include discussions about how "free nations can work together to thwart threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party".

The decision exposes the hypocrisy of the so-called press freedom the US has always been boasting, said Zhao, urging the USA side to immediately correct its wrongdoing and stop placing any groundless restrictions on Chinese media outlets. Indonesia has long followed a neutral foreign policy and has never allowed its territory to be used as a staging ground for foreign military operations.

"The United States is publicly recognizing that reality through these designations", she said.

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