United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged Kazakhstan on February 2 to join Washington in mounting pressure on China over the matter of Uighur Muslims. While speaking to Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi, Pompeo raised the issue of Muslim minorities in China's northwestern region of Xinjiang just across the Kazakh border.
Not only Kazakh, but Pompeo said the US wants all countries to join them in pressing China to put an immediate end to the repression by providing 'safe refugee' to people who are currently fleeing the mainland. According to the United Nations and human rights groups, more than one million people, mostly Uighur Muslims have been detained in isolated conditions as an 'anti-terrorism campaign'.
Great opportunity to reconnect with @MFA_KZ Foreign Minister Tileuberdi in Nur-Sultan today. We look forward to expanding our cooperation and strengthening our partnership in 2020. pic.twitter.com/sMEF4wXUu9— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) February 2, 2020
However, China has repeatedly denied any mistreatment to the Uighurs and have claimed that the camps in Xinjiang are for vocational training and calls the detainees as students. Meanwhile, Pompeo also met with the Kazakh-Chinese minorities who were among the detainees and lauded Kazakhstan for not forcing their return and providing asylum. But, Tleuberdi reportedly did not make any comments on Uighur issue but focussed on economic and security.
Met with the families of ethnic Kazakh-Chinese minorities who are among the 1M+ detained or sent to #Xinjiang internment camps. Grateful to #Kazakhstan for not forcibly returning members of Muslim minority groups to an uncertain fate in China and protecting those who seek asylum. pic.twitter.com/dxG3hK2G3h— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) February 2, 2020
While US has repeatedly asked for solidarity among countries against China, it had also passed the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act which would require the US President Donald Trump's administration to evaluate whether to impose more sanctions on Chinese goods or not to impose repressive policies.
However, China slammed the US for sanctioning the act and called the US politicians like Speaker Nancy Pelosi as 'ignorant & hypocritical' for talking about 'conscience'. The authorities yet again reassured that the ethnic minorities in China 'enjoy equal rights and freedom and culture'.
The Chinese official also clarified that whatever happens in Xinjiang is the country's way to 'combat terrorism and separatism' and denied the accusations that Beijing was harassing families of Uighur Muslims. The Spokesperson of the Chinese ministry called out Washington for its 'double standards'.
(with inputs from agencies)