A day after The Wall Street Journal published an exclusive report detailing a behind-the-scenes “clash” between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and their departments from people familiar with the matter over disagreements regarding a recent executive order barring Americans from investing in companies tied to China’s military complex, both stated Friday afternoon that there is no clash.
Both high-ranking Cabinet officials, in tweets posted one minute apart, wrote that that no clash exists between them and that they and their respective departments are working together on this executive order. On top of that, both tweets had near-identical messaging.
“There is no disagreement between @SecPompeo and me regarding the implementation of the President’s Executive Order,” wrote Mnuchin. “We are coordinating closely on an interagency basis.”
“There is no clash between Secretary @stevenmnuchin1 and me,” tweeted Pompeo a minute later. “We are simply working to resolve interagency mechanics of an important executive order.”
Starting back in November, the White House prohibited American investors from investing in 35 Chinese companies that the Pentagon has classified as aiding China’s defense, intelligence, and security apparatus.
“The U.S. government,” according to the Thursday Journal report, “is at odds over whether the blacklist should include subsidiaries of the companies. Another battlefront is over whether affiliates should be included. The question affects how much teeth the ban will have.”
State and Defense Department officials want the executive order to have the widest reach possible, whereas the Treasury Department wants the blacklist to only include the companies specifically flagged by the Pentagon, and not affiliates or subsidiaries, people familiar with the matter told The Journal.
As a result, this situation created by these disagreements pitted Pompeo and Mnuchin, as well as their respective departments, against each other. Particularly, the funding of Chinese state-tied companies by U.S. investors, Pompeo has said for a long time, threatens national security.
For more details about the dispute and the executive order, read the full original WSJ report from Thursday here.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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The Biden administration will be lifting sanctions on a Chinese government ministry, in exchange for bolstering anti-drug trafficking measures, Bloomberg reported. “We’re hoping to see some progress on that issue this coming week,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Monday, according to the New York Post. “That could then open the door to further cooperation on other issues where we aren’t just managing things, but we’re actually delivering tangible results.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation noted that should a deal materialize, it will be at least the third time that China has promised to get tough on fentanyl. In 2016, China agreed to increase counter-narcotics operations, and Xi again agreed to launch a crackdown in 2018. Nonetheless, China and Mexico are “the primary source countries for fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked directly into the United States,” according to a 2020 DEA intelligence report.
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