During a talk show appearance on Sunday, former Trump Administration Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that China’s threatening posture toward South China Sea trade routes could make America’s current supply chain trouble look like “child’s play” in comparison.
Pompeo told “Cats Roundtable” host John Catsimatidis that if China can dominate shipping lanes affecting Southeast Asia and countries including South Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam, supply chain issues affecting the U.S. will worsen.
He went on to say that he believes that is China’s intention, and the U.S. should be an “essential player” in responding to the Chinese communist government that the “cost is just too enormous.” Pompeo said that such an effort would require “presidential leadership,” resolve, and strong communication.
A recent report from China Power indicates that disruption of the most important trade route through the South China Sea could lead to global supply chain issues. The Strait of Malacca is the most vulnerable route in the area and is a likely target of attempted domination by China.
Pompeo told Catsimatidis that all nations of Southeast Asia would be especially vulnerable. He said that a possible long-term closure of routes through the South China Sea could be as damaging as the 2011 Thailand floods. That event caused a devastating loss of $32 billion to that country’s manufacturing industries.
He noted that the long-term damage to hard drive manufacturing in Thailand resulted in reductions in international production by 30 percent. The global hard drive market saw retail prices go up by 190 percent.
Pompeo said that in comparison, commodity or energy disruptions in the region would have even more far-reaching economic consequences internationally. He noted that upwards of 80 percent of China’s imported oil comes through the Strait of Malacca, and lasting closures would lead to a “worrisome economic and political scenario.”