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Pompeo raises US concern about Chinese investment in Ukraine in call with Zelenskiy

Mike Pompeo and President Volodymyr Zelensky hand shake after their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 31, 2020. (Sergii Kharchenko/Zuma Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy about U.S. concerns over China’s attempt to purchase a Ukrainian engine manufacturer, the State Department said on August 29.

Pompeo raised concerns over “malign” Chinese investment in Ukraine, including Beijing’s efforts to acquire the Motor Sich engine manufacturer, in a telephone call on August 26 with Zelenskiy, spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

The United States has previously lobbied against the possible sale of the strategic company and its advanced technology to China.

The outgoing U.S. ambassador to Ukraine said late last year that there were U.S. companies studying the possible purchase of Motor Sich, one of the world’s top makers of aircraft engines for the defense industry.

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“There are some serious American and other companies interested in Motor Sich,” William Taylor said in an interview on December 26, 2019 with Ukrainian media outlets prior to leaving his post on January 2.

He did not disclose the names of the American companies.

Motor Sich is privately owned by its chief executive, Vyacheslav Bohuslayev. He reportedly has agreed to sell the bulk of his shares to Chinese companies, but the deal has yet to receive Ukrainian government approval.

Ortagus said Pompeo and Zelenskiy also discussed the situation in Belarus, Ukraine’s efforts to combat COVID-19, attempts to reach a diplomatic resolution to Russia’s aggression in eastern Ukraine, and the restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty in Crimea.

Pompeo also congratulated Ukraine on the country’s Independence Day on August 24 and emphasized that the United States will continue to stand with the Ukrainian people “in order to advance the rule of law, foster economic growth, attract foreign investment, and eliminate endemic corruption that constrains Ukraine’s potential.”