Washington: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has met top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi to exchange views on the bilateral relations and on the coronavirus pandemic, the State Department said, amidst major differences between the two nations on a range of issues.
The meeting between the two diplomats took place in Hawaii on a day when President Donald Trump signed into law a legislation that condemns the gross human rights violations of Uyghur minority groups in China’s restive Muslim-majority Xinjiang region, paving the way for imposing sanctions against senior Chinese officials.
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.
Pompeo and Yang for the first time met over dinner on Tuesday, which they continued on Wednesday.
State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said that Secretary of State Pompeo met Yang, a Communist Party of China (CPC) Politburo member, in Honolulu, Hawaii to exchange views on the US-China relations.
Pompeo stressed key US interests and the need for the fully-reciprocal dealings between the two nations across commercial, security and diplomatic interactions.
The two countries are also at odds over China’s decision to impose a controversial security law in Hong Kong, a former British territory, which was handed over to Beijing in 1997.
He also stressed the need for the full transparency and information sharing to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and prevent future outbreaks.
In Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry slammed the US for the law on Uyghurs, saying it “maliciously attacks” China’s policy in the Xinjiang region.
China will “resolutely hit back and the US will bear the burden of all subsequent consequences”, it said in a statement after Trump signed the Act into law.
The bill, which includes sanctions on the senior Chinese officials directly involved in the crackdown on the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, was passed with overwhelming support from Republicans and Democrats in Congress.
According to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the contagion has infected over 83,51,000 people and killed more than 4,48,000 across the world. The US is the worst affected country with over 2.1 million cases and more than 1,17,000 deaths.
The COVID-19, which originated in China’s Wuhan city in December last year, has also battered the world economy with the International Monetary Fund saying that the global economy is bound to suffer a “severe recession”.
Scientists are racing against time to find a vaccine or medicine for its treatment.