China accuses Pompeo of 'slander' over Xinjiang comments

People wearing masks to prevent contracting coronavirus arrive at Incheon International Airport in Incheon South Korea

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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.

Serikzhan, founder of the Kazakh human rights group Atajurt, said Pompeo had met with five Kazakh families whose relatives were incarcerated in Xinjiang camps.

A key ally of President Donald Trump, Pompeo has often echoed the president's disdain for the media. Uzbekistan signed more than 20 major business deals with American companies in 2018 which would amount to $4.8 billion upon full implementation. Currently, total U.S. investment in Uzbekistan is over $ 1 billion.

The United States and Uzbekistan share a common stance on security in the region.

"In 2019, we committed almost $100 million to bolster the rule of law, education, English language training, support for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and other forms of assistance", Pompeo said.

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"Strong measures now may blunt the impact on the United States", she added.

In order to further expand economic cooperation, Uzbekistan must continue privatization and regulatory reform, strengthen the rule of law and join the World Trade Organization.

In response to a journalist's question about the prospects for cooperation, Pompeo said the US' role in Central Asia is "to support the independence and prosperity of the republics of the region" and added that the two sides had "discussed new opportunities and areas for American investment".

"They have also previously written to USA officials, including Pompeo himself, and Congress, calling for assistance from the US government".

The United States and Uzbekistan have a common stance on security in the region. The Secretary commended Nazarbayev's legacy of principled leadership on nuclear non-proliferation, highlighting the positive model set by Kazakhstan's repatriation of its citizens from Syria and Iraq.

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However, China slammed the United States for sanctioning the act and called the USA politicians like Speaker Nancy Pelosi as "ignorant & hypocritical" for talking about "conscience".

Kamilov said that his country is actively involved in the Afghan peaceful process "because it touches on our lives and the national interest and interest of security of our state".

Bringing a message similar to one he has delivered repeatedly to other countries, Pompeo was telling senior Kazakh officials on Sunday that the attractiveness of such investment comes with a cost to sovereignty and may hurt, instead of help, long-term development. He said the United States is helping the country with expertise from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and providing laboratory equipment. Uzbekistan, as a country neighboring Afghanistan, highly values the US policy in Afghanistan because the USA presence in Afghanistan "is a stabilizing factor of the situation and deters the push of terrorism and extremism and radicalization ..."

At an interview with President Alexander Lukashenko, Pompeo stated he expected to help provide a chance for Belarus to get the sovereignty and liberty it attempts.

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