Top US, China diplomats meet in Hawaii as tensions flare

WION Web Team
New York, New York, United States of America Published: Jun 18, 2020, 04:00 PM(IST)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Pompeo has been forceful in his criticism of Beijing. This meeting was his first known contact with Yang since they discussed the coronavirus by phone on April 15, and their first face-to-face meeting since last year.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met China's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, in Hawaii on Wednesday, in high-level face-to-face talks amid tensions between the two strategic rivals.

The world's two largest economies have been at loggerheads over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic and China's move to impose security legislation on Hong Kong, among multiple points of friction that have worsened this year.

Pompeo has been forceful in his criticism of Beijing. This meeting was his first known contact with Yang since they discussed the coronavirus by phone on April 15, and their first face-to-face meeting since last year.

Neither side outlined an agenda for the Hawaii talks, but diplomats and other sources have said the meeting was requested by China.

Yang told Pompeo that Washington needs to respect Beijing's positions on key issues, halt its interference on matters such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang, and work to repair relations, China's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Pompeo stressed "the need for fully-reciprocal dealings between the two nations," US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

He also stressed the need for full transparency and information sharing to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and prevent future outbreaks.

Hours after the meeting ended, China announced that its top parliamentary body will review draft Hong Kong national security legislation during a session that began on Thursday.

Earlier, foreign ministers of the G7 countries, including Pompeo, issued a statement calling on China not to follow through with the Hong Kong legislation, which critics call an assault on the territory's democratic freedoms.

US-China relations have reached their lowest point in years. In mid-May Trump, who has pursued a deal to end a damaging trade war he launched with China, went so far as to suggest he could cut ties with Beijing.

Among his criticisms of China, Pompeo has said it could have prevented hundreds of thousands of deaths from the global coronavirus pandemic by being more transparent.
Trump has initiated a process of eliminating special US treatment for Hong Kong to punish China for curbing freedoms there, but has stopped short of immediately ending privileges.

(with inputs from Reuters)

Read in App