A United States official on Thursday hinted that Israel's continued cooperation with China might be "dangerous" in light of the current coronavirus outbreak and could undermine the relations with its "strategic partners".
During a State Department press briefing on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit in Israel, which began on Wednesday, the official said the COVID-19 pandemic "highlights the dangers of dealing with states that are not transparent."
State Department and Pompeo have in recent days launched a number of verbal attacks on the Chinese government, accusing it of covering up the severity of the disease, when it initially broke out in the city of Wuhan in December of 2019.
"In particular there’s the issue of strategic investment, that there is no such thing as a privately owned, independent company in China, right." the official said. "If you use Huawei, if you use any type of company that has access to your DNA, that DNA becomes property and that information becomes property of the Chinese Communist Party."
Chinese Huawei smartphones have been banned in the U.S. at least through May of 2021 out of fear the phones violate privacy of the users. In Israel, however, the phones are sold freely with the Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot even appearing in the commercial for the company.
"And so that’s a security issue. And so, whether it’s the large infrastructure projects, things they can do to those infrastructure projects, there are all kinds of dangers, and we – I think it’s important for us as allies, strategic partners to be able to discuss the type of threats and the types of ways to mitigate those kind of threats."
When asked if the State Department has been pervasive in getting their global partners, including Israel, and doing less business with China, he said "the message is getting through."
"I think we’ve been allies with Israel for a long time," said the official. "Our strategic relationship is getting closer every day, whether this is economically, whether this is in terms of military, intelligence sharing, across the board. We have a relationship that’s mature enough to talk about difficult subjects."