Mike Pompeo delivers Major Foreign Policy Address on U.S.-China Relations at the Nixon Library

The Secretary of State of the United States Michael R. Pompeo visited the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Birthplace on July 23, 2020 to deliver a major policy address on U.S. – China relations only steps away from the home in which President Nixon was born, and the flower-ringed site where he and First Lady Pat Nixon are laid to rest. 

Entitled “Communist China and the Future of the Free World,” the speech was –according to the State Department—one of the most significant foreign policy announcements of the Trump administration to date.

Immediately following his 24 minute speech, Secretary Pompeo participated in a conversation onstage with Hugh Hewitt, the President and CEO of the Richard Nixon Foundation. 

The humble white farmhouse that was the birthplace and childhood home of President Nixon served as the backdrop for the speech. The symbolism shone through; Richard Nixon was the first American president to visit the People’s Republic of China, and he devised a strategic framework that guided U.S.-China relations for nearly 50 years. 

Secretary Pompeo sought to reshape that framework nearly 50 years after President and Mrs. Nixon’s historic trip, offering a blistering rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party.

Referring to that framework, the Secretary said that President Nixon “did what he believed was best for the American people at the time, and he may well have been right.” 

He went on:

“He was a brilliant student of China, a fierce cold warrior, and a tremendous admirer of the Chinese people, just as I think we all are. He deserves enormous credit for realizing that China was too important to be ignored, even when the nation was weakened because of its own self-inflicted communist brutality.

“In 1967, in a very famous Foreign Affairs article, Nixon explained his future strategy. Here’s what he said: He said, ‘Taking the long view, we simply cannot afford to leave China forever outside of the family of nations…The world cannot be safe until China changes. Thus, our aim – to the extent we can, we must influence events. Our goal should be to induce change.’

“And I think that’s the key phrase from the entire article: ‘to induce change.’

“So, with that historic trip to Beijing, President Nixon kicked off our engagement strategy. He nobly sought a freer and safer world, and he hoped that the Chinese Communist Party would return that commitment.”

But, Secretary Pompeo argued that the CCP since 1972 has engaged in widespread human rights violations, theft of intellectual property and trade secrets, and failed to adequately prevent or contain the coronavirus. He used the Nixon Library’s podium to call for free nations of the world to demand change from the CCP. 

The Secretary’s complete remarks can be read here

The Secretary was introduced by Pete Wilson, the former Governor of California and a member of the Board of Directors of the Richard Nixon Foundation.  Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, delivered the invocation, while the Nixon family was represented by Christopher Nixon Cox, the eldest grandson of the former President and First Lady. 

Two hundred friends, fans, elected officials and Nixon Foundation members were on hand for the speech. All wore face coverings and significant modifications were made to allow for social distancing and to comply with state and county mandates amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The Secretary then met privately with a dozen dissidents from China, who are now living in the United States. Two of the most prominent included the “father of the Chinese democracy movement” Wei Jingsheng, as well as noted Tiananmen Square protestor Wang Dan. 

Watch the complete speech below: