WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday chided British bank HSBC (HSBA.L) for backing moves by China to end Hong Kong’s autonomy, saying such “corporate kowtows” got little in return from Beijing.
Pompeo said the United States stood ready to help Britain with alternatives after Beijing reportedly threatened to punish HSBC and break commitments to build nuclear power plants in the country unless the British government allowed China’s Huawei Technologies HWT.UL to participate in building a 5G network.
“The United States stands with our allies and partners against the Chinese Communist Party’s coercive bullying tactics,” Pompeo said in a statement, his latest swipe at China’s ruling party.
Pompeo referred to HSBC’s Asia-Pacific CEO, Peter Wong, signing a petition supporting Beijing’s plans to impose new security legislation on Hong Kong. He said the “browbeating” of HSBC by China’s communist leadership “should serve as a cautionary tale” .
“That show of fealty seems to have earned HSBC little respect in Beijing, which continues to use the bank’s business in China as political leverage against London,” he said.
China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters during a daily briefing on Wednesday that Beijing hopes the United States will stop using Hong Kong to stoke fires and interfere in China’s affairs.