Secretary of State Pompeo to meet Chinese officials in Hawaii amid escalating tensions

Political Connection
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(CNN) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to meet with Chinese officials in Hawaii early this week, two US officials and one Western diplomat told CNN on Sunday.

Pompeo is expected to discuss a wide range of issues during the meetings, which will take place at Hickam Air Force Base, according to a US official familiar with the trip. Pompeo will only be on the ground in Hawaii for about 24 hours, the source said.

Pompeo’s plans were first reported by Politico.

The secretary of state’s meeting comes as tensions between the US and China have been escalating for months, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the Chinese legislature vote to impose a highly contentious national security law in Hong Kong.

Chinese officials have also recently sought to exploit the death of George Floyd and the unrest it has caused in US, leading Pompeo to call their efforts “laughable propaganda” last week. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in turn called Pompeo’s comments laughable.

The sources would not say which Chinese officials Pompeo will be meeting with, and there are currently no plans to bring reporters on the trip.

CNN has reached out to the Chinese Embassy for comment.

The State Department declined to comment to CNN on the trip. The department has kept a tight hold on the plans, leaving diplomats from allied countries curious about Pompeo’s agenda, explained two western diplomats.

Later this month, Marshall Billingslea, the State Department’s top nuclear negotiator, is scheduled to meet with Russian officials in Vienna to discuss arms control. Billingslea said on Twitter that the Chinese were invited to join the talks, but the Chinese have said they will not attend.

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