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China accuses US of “defaming her” for his remarks on Xinjiang

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The Beijing embassy in Uzbekistan accused US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of “defaming her” on Tuesday after he raised the issue of Muslim suffering in China’s Xinjiang province during a tour in Central Asia.

“Regardless of the number of times it is repeated, the lie does not turn into reality,” the embassy said in a statement on its website. “Any attempt to defame China and sow discord in friendly relations between China and Central Asian countries is doomed to failure.”

Pompeo Monday concluded a week-long diplomatic tour with a visit to Uzbekistan, where he met leaders of the former Soviet state and foreign ministers of the five former Soviet “Stan” countries in Central Asia.

Pompeo, in Uzbekistan and its oil-rich neighbor, Kazakhstan, a day earlier, referred to what he described as China’s “suppression” of Muslims in Xinjiang.

In Kazakhstan, he met with citizens who said that family members had gone missing or imprisoned across the border in the Chinese province.

Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov told reporters Monday that his country hopes to avoid “unpopular political repercussions” due to “competition in our region between the major powers”, in response to a question about the possible negative repercussions of Chinese investment and influence.

None of the five countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – China has publicly criticized China over Xinjiang.

More than a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and other minorities are believed to have been imprisoned as part of an unprecedented security crackdown in the region in eastern China.

Russia and China each have concessions in Central Asia, while Washington has been working hard for several years to keep up with it.

Pompeo visited two other countries of the former Soviet Union, Belarus and Ukraine in the framework of the tour, which started from Britain.

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