U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gestures while speaking during his and Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei join news conference following the talks in Minsk, Belarus, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
UPDATED 10:15 AM PT — Sunday, February 9, 2020
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is advising governors across the nation to be careful when doing business with China.
“When it comes to doing business, I’m asking you to adopt a cautious mindset,” he said. “In the words of President Reagan, when you are approached for introduction or a connection to a deal, ‘trust, but verify.’”
On Saturday, he warned governors the country could be “targeting individual states” for political and economic gain.
“Competition with China is not just a federal issue, that’s why I wanted to be here today, Governor Hogan,” said Pompeo. “It’s happening in your states with consequences for our foreign policy, for the citizens that reside in your states and, indeed, for each of you.”
FILE – In this Sept. 16, 2018, file photo, American flags are displayed together with Chinese flags in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
The secretary noted the Chinese government has “assessed” each governor, ranking them as “friendly, “hardline” or “ambiguous.” He added there are communist China followers in dozens of states across the nation, who are attempting to influence local governments.
“The Chinese government has been methodical in the way it has analyzed our system,” stated Pompeo. “It’s assessed our vulnerabilities and it has decided to exploit our freedom (in order) to gain advantage over us at the federal, state and the local level.”
The U.S. has also pressured partner nations against doing business with Chinese tech company Huawei amid concerns their government is using devices to spy on users.