On Tuesday, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo doubled down on his ominous warning to U.S. governors over the efforts by China's Communist Party to infiltrate America's infrastructure and educational systems.
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"We've allowed this to continue without a deep awareness from the American people," Pompeo asserted during FOX Business' "Lou Dobbs Tonight" on Tuesday.
While there are places where trade with China is appropriate, Pompeo said business owners should be wary of groups in America that are loyal to communist China.
"Everyone needs to be aware that there are these risks," Pompeo noted.
The secretary said it's not uncommon for Chinese officials based in America to attempt to encourage chaos at the local and state level.
"My role in this is these are often Chinese diplomats who are stationed here in the United States engaged in this activity," Pompeo said. "We just want everyone to be aware of the risks that are associated with activities that they may be undertaking."
One of those arenas where those loyal to communist China work, Pompeo said, is the educational system. He pointed to the exchange program Confucius Institute which will send students to the United States but is not as welcoming to American students.
"Why can't we have the same thing at a Chinese institution?" Pompeo asked. "We'd welcome that opportunity. These are the things that we've allowed the Chinese Communist Party to do here in the United States that we just don't have the ability to do on a reciprocal basis there."
On Saturday, Pompeo spoke about how Beijing reportedly pressures Chinese students living in the U.S. to report back to their government about American citizens' activities.
"We want Chinese students coming here to learn," Pompeo qualified. "But, we need to make sure that they're doing so on a basis that is transparent and fair and that these students who come here aren't under the long arm of Beijing, reporting back into their country in ways that our First Amendment doesn't permit."
One of the ways these actions could be detrimental is the theft of American intellectual property.
"We need to make sure to protect American academics, American intellectual property, American innovators, protect the property and the work that they've done so that the wealth it creates goes to the inventor and the property owner, not to the Chinese Communist Party," Pompeo reiterated.
In the midst of this controversy with China, America is cooperating with the country due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, Pompeo believes the focus should be placed on "science and facts," versus fear.
"It's a global epidemic that we need to work our way through with science and facts," Pompeo told Dobbs. "President Trump has taken action to try and protect the American people."
Some of the things Trump has done, Pompeo said, was to change the rules surrounding who can come to the U.S.
"We got Americans out of Wuhan which is the center of the effect and kept them in quarantine for 14 days to make sure we protected the American people," Pompeo noted. "We, at the State Department, have brought Americans home and we've done so safely."
He applauded Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar for his efforts to "make sure we help the world address this challenge."
One of the ways the U.S. has helped, Pompeo mentioned, is by providing financial aid.
"We've provided up to $100,000 million in assistance, not only to China but to other countries that are impacted by the coronavirus," Pompeo said. "This is a serious challenge, and the whole world needs to take on this challenge together."
The daily death toll in China from coronavirus topped 100 for the first time, pushing the total fatalities above 1,000 on Tuesday. The death toll has topped 1,016 in mainland China.
The virus outbreak has become the latest political challenge for the party and its leader, Xi Jinping, who despite accruing more political power than any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, has struggled to handle crises on multiple fronts. These include a sharply slowing domestic economy, the trade war with the U.S. and push-back on China's increasingly aggressive foreign policies.
A total of 42,638 virus infections have been recorded on the Chinese mainland. There have been 13 confirmed cases in the United States, including seven in California. More than 460 cases have been confirmed outside mainland China, including two deaths in Hong Kong and the Philippines. Of those, 135 are quarantined aboard a cruise ship in Yokohama, near Tokyo.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.