QUESTION: Secretary of State, some politicians � both English and American, or British and American � are rather coy about using that phrase, special events � our Special Relationship. But you dropped right in talking about a truly Special Relationship. What does that mean to you?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So I've read the books, the history books. I know of the greatness that our two nations have achieved together. I know our history where we parted as well, but it has been a remarkable last couple hundred years where we have achieved great outcomes in two world wars. In the battles of today, we work alongside each other in Afghanistan and in Syria. These are important undertakings, we have deep commercial ties, and I know of no other nation that has this unique, Special Relationship that is lasting and as special as the one that our two countries have.

QUESTION: And a special dimension now that we've got Americans in the royal family.

SECRETARY POMPEO: (Laughter.) Yes. A wonderful addition to the Special Relationship.

QUESTION: Do you think Donald Trump will be bringing an American passport for the new baby when he comes over next time? (Laughter.)

SECRETARY POMPEO: I guess I do issue passports, but I'll leave that to others.

QUESTION: But you'd like to, because you --

SECRETARY POMPEO: All in good time, we'll work on these issues. We're happy for the new Duchess of Sussex.

QUESTION: Now I suppose the serious, the top issue for you on this particular visit has been Iran.


QUESTION: You went by short notice to Iraq this week. What is the major threat you see from Iran?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So my trip to Baghdad was to talk with the Iraqi leadership, based on some very specific threats we had about Iranian activity that was taking place that put at substantial risk our facilities, our men and women who are serving in Iraq. And I wanted to make very clear to them that they needed to be kept secure, and the Iraqi leadership was great, and have done that. They're � they have certainly made that commitment. But we also wanted to talk to them about the fact that we know they're � Iraq is a neighbor of Iran, but we want to do all the things we can to make sure that Iraq has the opportunity to be independent and sovereign and free from interference from any nation.

QUESTION: But in a sense, your visit, the moving in of the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, seems to think � you think there is, to use that phrase, some kind of clear and present danger from Iran.

SECRETARY POMPEO: We've seen reporting that suggests we need to ensure that we are prepared to protect Americans wherever they are.

QUESTION: That is one area where the United Kingdom has sided with the other Europeans against the Americans since the Obama � since the Obama administration was replaced by the Trump administration. Do you think � would you like the British to switch sides and join the Americans?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, I don't see it that way. We're on the same side. When I talk to Foreign Secretary Hunt, when I talk to Prime Minister May, they understand the evil that emanates from the Islamic Republic of Iran. We've gone our different paths with respect to a particular deal related to one component of the threat, the nuclear file. But in every dimension we jointly understand the risk of missiles coming from Iran. We understand the risk from Islamic terror being spread by this revolutionary regime and � through Hizballah, through Shia militias in Iraq, through arming and firing � providing missile technology to Houthis in Yemen. We're in complete agreement on those risks, and we're working side-by-side along them, and we'll find a way to work forward together to make sure Iran doesn't get a nuclear weapon as well.

QUESTION: I mean, the United Kingdom � on the question of relations with Iran and also more significantly economically in terms of relations with China � is in a different position from the United States. It's not a competitor. It's a trading nation. It wants to trade with both sides. Do you understand that, or do you think there is a choice facing Britain on, for example, Huawei, which you talked about?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, I'm happy to talk about Huawei specifically, but look, we have a big trading relationship with China as well. We want China to be a successful --

QUESTION: Well, some say you've got a trade war.

SECRETARY POMPEO: We want the economic expansion in China for the Chinese people as well. But we want that trade to be open, fair, free, transparent. We want trade deals not to be national security deals under a patina of commerce. China is a different nation. When it goes to Africa and offers infrastructure, it is almost always the case that it has a national security element to it. We don't compete that way. The United Kingdom doesn't compete that way. And we want to make sure those nations, when they choose China, know that there may be some cheap deal or something that appears cheap, but we want to make sure they know that that threat is real and that if China loans you money, they may well foreclose.

QUESTION: So how does that mean the UK should respond? Does that mean we shouldn't, we should be very wary of closer economic ties or a Huawei deal with China?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, when it comes to Huawei and ZTE, the United States has been crystal clear: We don't believe you can have those technology in your systems and still have a trusted network. We're happy to continue to look at technology and see ways we might achieve that, but the United States for its part will only participate in trusted networks. We will only share America's information with those networks that we are confident aren't under the control of China or China's government. And so there's real risk, if countries choose that path, that we won't be able to participate in those networks --

QUESTION: So potentially, this could threaten Britain's security relationship with the United States?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We'll find a way, I'm very confident. We're too important of partners. But we certainly will never put America's national security sequence in a network that we don't have confidence in. We never have. We've faced these risks before. And we never will.

QUESTION: Could you do business with a United Kingdom led by Jeremy Corbyn?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, I don't want to weigh into that subject. They're a great partner. They have a special relationship. It has survived transitions of power on both sides of the Atlantic. I'm confident that our nations would continue to move forward together. Our relationship is with Britain and I'm confident that we will continue to have a special relationship.

QUESTION: I mean, the reason why I'm asking you this is because you said, for example, something close to Jeremy Corbyn's position on Venezuela is disgusting.


QUESTION: That's a strong word to use.

SECRETARY POMPEO: It's disgusting. I repeat that. Look, this is supporting an individual, Maduro, who has for years systemically looted Venezuela and caused women to not be able to feed their babies and to provide medical care for their children. The medicine sits on their very border. The food sits on their very border. The European Union and American taxpayers were incredibly gracious --

QUESTION: Jeremy Corbyn said there just shouldn't be outside interference in Venezuela.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, well, providing food to starving children isn't interference. It's support; it's what we do. It's in our deepest traditions of humanitarian assistance. The interference has taken place; the Cubans are there. They've interfered. So I hope Mr. Corbyn will ask the Cubans to cease their interference in Venezuela.

QUESTION: You also just said that you believe anti-Zionism is the same as anti-Semitism. Now, there are many on the left who dispute that, who say that you can have reservations about Israel and particularly the behavior of the Israeli Government and not be anti-Semitic.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Critiquing the policies of the Government of Israel is completely in bounds. Calling for the destruction of Israel, seeking actions that will lead to its destruction, that's not acceptable. This is what I mean. It's not anti-Zionism to critique an Israeli policy set. It is anti-Zionism to take positions which ultimately undermine the democracy that exists there in Israel and the human rights of those Israeli --

QUESTION: You sound as if you're worried that the two are getting blurred.

SECRETARY POMPEO: They are, and we need to make sure that we're crystal clear about that.

QUESTION: Finally, is it going to be easier for the United States, or more importantly, the Trump administration, to have a relationship, a good relationship with the UK once Brexit is completed?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I am very confident we'll have a great relationship. We're � as I said in my remarks this afternoon, we're ready to go to get a free trade agreement once Brexit is complete. It's an incredibly important trading relationship, and we look forward to the day we can begin to work together to develop so that we can grow each of our economies together.

QUESTION: But Trump supporters are Brexiteers, aren't they?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I'm sure there's some that are and some that aren't.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, sir.

Source: U.S. State Department

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