Pompeo, top Chinese diplomat hold talks in Hawaii amid frayed ties
WASHINGTON/BEIJING (US/CHINA) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Hawaii on Wednesday in the wake of deteriorating ties between the two nations. It was their first meeting since last year.
The two countries have been at loggerheads over the handling of the pandemic as well as Beijing’s move to impose a new security legislation on Hong Kong.
Yang made it clear that Washington needs to respect Beijing’s positions on key issues, stop its intervention in matters such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang, and strive to repair ties, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Yang said cooperation between the two countries “is the only correct choice”.
Meanwhile, Pompeo stressed “the need for fully-reciprocal dealings between the two nations across commercial, security, and diplomatic interactions,” 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.”
China said the meeting was “constructive” and said the two sides had agreed to continue engagement.
The meeting in Honolulu started shortly after 1900 GMT and concluded at 0150 GMT on Thursday, a senior State Department official said.
As the meeting progressed, President Donald Trump signed a legislation calling for sanctions against those repressing Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region, which prompted a threat of retaliation from Beijing.
Separately, Pompeo and foreign ministers of the G7 countries issued a statement urging China not to go ahead with the Hong Kong legislation which critics call an assault on the territory’s democratic freedoms.
Experts say relations between the two largest economies have reached their lowest point in years, and in mid-May, Trump, who has pursued a deal to end a damaging trade war he launched with China, went on to suggest cutting ties with Beijing.
While Trump and his administration have stepped up rhetoric against China in the run-up to the November US election, his former national security adviser, John Bolton, said on Wednesday the president sought Chinese President Xi Jinping’s help to win the re-election during a closed-door June 2019 meeting.
Bolton’s accusations are contained in a book that the US government on Tuesday sued to prevent it from being published, arguing that it contained classified information and would threaten national security.
Trump retaliated by calling Bolton a “liar” in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. In a separate interview, he told Fox News that Bolton had broken the law by including highly classified material in the book.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer also told a congressional hearing that Chinese officials had repeatedly affirmed their commitment to buy more US goods and services under a Phase 1 trade deal inked in January and that $10 billion in purchases had been clocked so far.
Lighthizer also said, when asked about exports of products made by Uighurs and other Muslim groups in camps in China, that Washington would “strongly enforce” US laws banning the products of forced labour.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field