Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rejected a claim by an Australian geopolitical analyst that Australia should veer away from confrontation with China, as the U.S. has done under President Trump.

"You can sell your soul for a pile of soybeans, or you can protect your people," Pompeo said Sunday in Australia, rejecting comments by Australian security analyst Hugh White that said Australia should avoid following the U.S. into conflict with China.

Pompeo said "everybody needs to have their eyes open wide," about China, as Asia's largest economy has "began to behave in ways it had not done before."

"The efforts to steal data across networks … or efforts to militarize the South China Sea, something that President Xi promised the world he would not do, or engage in activities where they foist money on nations that are desperate for resources and leave them trapped in debt position which ultimately aren't about commercial transactions but commercial control," Pompeo said.

The Trump administration has initiated numerous policies to counter China's growing political and economic influence. Trump slapped tariffs of 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods in May and last week announced more tariffs of 10% on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods to be implemented in September.

The Trump administration has also blacklisted cellphones made by Chinese telecommunications company Huawei due to concerns the Chinese government uses Huawei's infrastructure to spy on the U.S.

Despite recent diplomatic breakthroughs between China and Australia, such as a free trade deal in 2014, there have been signs that the relationship has soured.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Pompeo and Japanese Foreign Minister Toro Kono issued a statement on Aug. 2 expressing serious concerns about "credible reports of disruptive activities in relation to long-standing oil and gas projects in the South China Sea," which was a veiled condemnation of China's behavior in the territory.

Australia has also criticized China for its detention and mistreatment of its Muslim Uighur minority.