In Berlin on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commemorated the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with a message about freedom, and the importance of protecting it.
“Today my fellow Americans and I rejoice with the German people. The wall is no more, but let us not take lightly to the threats to our freedoms, the challenges that we all face,” Pompeo said.
In spelling out those challenges, he named both Russia and China.
“Today, Russia led by a former KGB officer stationed in Dresden, invades his neighbors and slays political opponents,” said Pompeo.
In his critique of the Chinese government, he drew a connection to Germany’s past.
“The Chinese Communist Party uses tactics and methods to suppress its own people that would be horrifyingly familiar to former East Germans,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo also repeated his warning to Germany’s government about Huawei, as the country decides what role the Chinese company should play in the development of Germany’s 5G infrastructure.
“So as you think about networks, as you think about who’s going to control the rules of communication’s connectivity in the next decade, you should think about whether you would have permitted the Soviet Union to control your infrastructure, your network communication’s infrastructure,” Pompeo said.
While in Berlin, Pompeo also met with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s Defense Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
The U.S. Secretary of State’s visit to Berlin comes after stops in a string of other German cities, including the place where he was stationed during the Cold War, as a “younger, thinner, more daring army second lieutenant” in his 20s.
On Thursday, Pompeo got to see the town of Mödlareuth from the other side.
“For all of that governmental power, all that authoritarianism, the GDR couldn’t crush the human spirit. Germans maintained their imperishable hope of freedom and a better future even under that authoritarian regime.”
Pompeo recalled leaving his post in West Germany in October of 1989. Of course he couldn’t have known it at the time, but the fall of the Berlin Wall was just weeks away.
The U.S. Secretary of State delivered his remarks in a building next door to the Brandenburg Gate, the iconic landmark where three decades ago, Germans from East and West met to celebrate the end of their nation’s division.
On Saturday, November 9, notable politicians and artists will gather on stage to pay tribute to the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Peaceful Revolution that helped bring it down.