China on Monday lashed out at U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for accusing Beijing of prolonging the crisis in Venezuela, slamming his remarks as “lies.”
Beijing has been Venezuela’s main creditor and maintains relations with the government of President Nicolas Maduro, which also enjoys support from Russia.
Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Pompeo had “wantonly slandered” China-Latin America relations, and that it is Washington that views the region as its “backyard.”
“For some time, some U.S. politicians have been carrying the same version, the same script of slandering China all over the world, and fanning the flames and sowing discord everywhere,” the ministry spokesman said.
“The words and deeds are despicable. But lies are lies, even if you say it a thousand times, they are still lies. Mr Pompeo, you can stop,” he said.
In a speech in Chile on Friday, Pompeo said Beijing’s “bankrolling” of Maduro’s regime has “helped precipitate and prolong the crisis in that country.”
Mike Pompeo speaks aside Colombia's president in Cúcuta, Colombia: "I want to commend your government & the people of Colombia for the support you've offered to the Venezuelans in their true hour of need. The United States & freedom-loving nations around the world stand by you." pic.twitter.com/MGdKtVzjo1
— The Hill (@thehill) April 15, 2019
Xu Bu, China’s ambassador to Chile, had even harsher words for U.S. Secretary of State following the speech.
“Mr. Pompeo has lost his mind,” he told the Chilean publication La Tercera.
Pompeo wrapped up his four-nation tour of South America on Sunday with a visit to Cucuta, a Colombian city bordering Venezuela and crossing point for thousands of Venezuelans who have fled the crisis in their homeland.
Pompeo reiterated U.S. calls for Maduro to step down. Washington and dozens of other countries have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.