Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told Sky News he believes China’s President Xi is a bigger threat to the world than Vladimir Putin.

Speaking on Beth Rigby Interviews, Mr Pompeo said President Xi is intent on world dominance.

“He wants to own you,” the US politician warned.

“He wants hegemonic intent across the world with his Marxist-Leninist vision, and Chinese economic and political dominance in every corner of the world.

“That is his vicious objective. We have an obligation to the next generation to push back against it.”

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Asked if the Chinese leader is more dangerous than his Russian counterpart – who invaded Ukraine almost a year ago today – Mr Pompeo replied: “Absolutely. [It’s] Not even close.

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“Vladimir Putin has a very capable nuclear program, and an economy that is dependent on a single industry. And if we produce energy in America, that industry would be a lot less valuable to him,” he said.

“Xi Jinping is a different creature.

“The globe is dependent on him economically, he has 1.4 billion people.

“He has an economy that rivals the size of that of the United States of America, a highly capable space and military and cyber program. And that’s the capabilities. And we have now also seen his intention.”

Mr Pompeo also said that while Mr Putin believes in greater Russia “he has no illusions about his capacity to dominate the world”.

Whereas he said Xi Jinping “believes this is not folderol. He believes he’s going to dominate the world.

“Those are two fundamentally different risks for our way of life in Europe, in the United States, in Asia, in the Middle East, everywhere.”

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Mr Pompeo served as secretary of state under Donald Trump between 2018 and 2021 and was the director of the CIA before that.

He recounted a meeting with Putin in which he “looked in his eyes” and “saw evil”.

“Make no mistake about it, he’s a bad guy.”

Biden weakness ‘allowed war in Ukraine to happen’

Mr Pompeo went on to attack Mr Trump’s predecessors, accusing President Biden of being weak and “allowing the war to happen”.

“What changed in the last decade? In 2014, President Obama allows Putin to take Crimea – one fifth of Ukraine. We always think about this war as having started on February 24th, now almost exactly a year ago. It actually started in 2014. Then, for four years, Putin doesn’t invade Europe. Doesn’t take another single inch. And then, we leave office and he goes at it again. I believe that’s not coincidence.”

Mr Pompeo rejected suggestions President Biden is acting as a leader on behalf of the West in its response to the Ukraine invasion and criticised how countries had responded to the war.

“The West has been slow, and late, and fearful of escalation, and that’s been a mistake. And so we should do our best to fix that today. We should provide them the things that they need and put Ukraine and the West in a place where Vladimir Putin will see the handwriting on the wall. This is how you restore deterrence.”

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Asked what a negotiated diplomatic solution to the war would look like, he said: “It would begin with the following. The United States, and most importantly, Europe actually providing the tools that the Ukrainian people need to fight and defend their own sovereignty.

“To put President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people in the position where President Putin would be negotiating from weakness. The ultimate resolution they will have to sort their way through.”

A US government official told Beth Rigby: “Mike Pompeo can’t prove whether or not Putin would have invaded Ukraine had Trump been in the White House. We do know that Trump’s approach to foreign policy eroded trust of allies, and President Biden repaired that.”

The official went on to say: “President Biden has shown significant and sustained leadership on Ukraine and used steady and deliberate cadence to bring allies on board. Germany has gone from supplying helmets to Leopard tanks. That’s quite a shift. That’s Joe Biden keeping the allies together.”