TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday (Aug. 13) met with a high ranking member of the Chinese Communist Party in New York in a meeting that was not announced ahead of time by the State Department.
Following the meeting, a cursory statement appeared in a press release on the department’s website. It read only “Director Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪) and Secretary Michael R. Pompeo had an extended exchange of views on U.S.-China relations.”
It is notable that Yang Jiechi does not directly represent the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is the current Director of Foreign Affairs for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and a member of the CCP’s 25-person Politburo but has previously served as both the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. (2001-2005) and China’s Foreign Minister (2007-2013).
Media outlets, such as Japan’s NHK, suggest that the instability in Hong Kong was likely the primary topic of discussion between the two diplomats. Last week, pro-Beijing media in Hong Kong released personal information to the public about a U.S. diplomat stationed there after she met with student protestors, accusing her of helping to foment a so-called “color revolution.”
In a firm denunciation of the action targeting the U.S. diplomat, State Department Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus referred to China as a “thuggish regime.” Officials from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded that Washington was using “gangster logic” to address the situation in Hong Kong.
It is likely that Pompeo and Yang discussed the recent war of words and accusations leveled at the State Department official in Hong Kong. Despite some short statements from Trump calling the situation in Hong Kong “tough” and “tricky,” the White House has largely remained silent regarding the social unrest in the special administrative region (SAR).
Also on Tuesday, the U.S. Navy announced that the Chinese government has denied two U.S. ships permits to visit Hong Kong. The amphibious transport ship USS Green Bay and cruiser USS Lake Erie were originally scheduled to make port calls in the city in September.