US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with top Chinese diplomat

AFP
Washington, United States Published: Jun 18, 2020, 01:17 PM(IST)

Fie photo of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Pompeo and his deputy Stephen Biegun held closed-door talks with the Chinese Communist Party’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged China to reveal all it knows about the coronavirus outbreak in a meeting with a top Chinese official in Hawaii on Wednesday as new revelations about President Donald Trump and China rocked Washington.

Pompeo and his deputy Stephen Biegun held closed-door talks with the Chinese Communist Party’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, according to a senior State Department official on the base.

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Discussions covered a wide range of contentious issues that have sent relations between the two countries plummeting, according to the two sides.

Pompeo “stressed the need for full transparency and information sharing to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and prevent future outbreaks,” the State Department said in a statement.

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Pompeo has joined President Donald Trump in criticizing China’s response to the outbreak, including giving credence to a theory that the virus may have emerged from a Chinese laboratory in the central city of Wuhan. Trump has said he will withdraw funding and cut ties with the World Health Organization over what he alleges is its overly close relationship with China.

Pompeo also “stressed important American interests and the need for fully-reciprocal dealings between the two nations across commercial, security, and diplomatic interactions,” the State Department said.

According to China’s foreign ministry, Yang expressed “strong dissatisfaciton” with Trump’s signing of legislation that would impose financial sanctions and visa bans on Chinese government officials deemed guilty of persecuting Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

China is accused of incarcerating more than a million Muslims in prison-like reeducation camps that it says are needed to counter Islamic radicalism and separatism and teach job skills.

The ministry also said Yang reiterated opposition to US intervention in the issues of Taiwan, the self-governing democratic island and US ally that China claims as its own territory and threatens to invade, and Hong Kong, where China intends to impose legislation that could have major effects on free speech and opposition political activity.

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