US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States and the Netherlands were not afraid of a "little competition" from China, while speaking alongside Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok in The Hague on Monday.

"We want to compete on a free, fair, open and reciprocal basis, and I know that if we do that both the Netherlands and the United States will continue to be successful economic countries", he said.

He also thanked Blok for the Dutch's increasing efforts in Afghanistan and within NATO, stressing the importance of maintaining a strong military cooperation against Russian "expansionism."

"In addition to its military expansionism, energy is one tool it uses to accomplish that goal and the North Stream 2 pipeline is instrumental to those efforts. We must work together to make sure that Europe has a diversified secure energy supply," he said.

Blok, who praised bilateral trade relations with Washington, stressed the Netherlands' commitment to work on reducing trade barriers, saying: "The European Union is of course negotiating on behalf of the Netherlands with our full support, with the aim of - in the end - reducing tariffs, it's in the interests of nobody having tariffs that make trade more difficult or more expensive."

Pompeo met Blok on the sidelines of a US-Dutch entrepreneurship conference in the Netherlands.

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Associated Press 11 May 2020 11:44 CEST

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