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US to address Uighur genocide in talks with China

Blinken will meet the Chinese Foreign Minister in Alaska [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 March, 2021

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The meeting in Alaska next week will be the first between Chinese and US officials under the Biden administration
US officials will address the genocide of China’s Muslim Uighur minority next week in talks with Chinese officials, the White House said on Thursday.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin will meet in Alaska with their Chinese counterparts on March 18 and 19, following their first overseas trip, which will take them to Japan and South Korea.

“Addressing the genocide against Uighur Muslims is something that will be a topic of discussion with the Chinese directly next week,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

It will be the first in-person meeting between the countries under the Biden administration.

In a separate briefing, State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Thursday that it would be a “difficult” conversation.

“We’ll be frank and explain how Beijing’s actions and behaviour challenge the security, the prosperity, the values of not only the United States, but also our partners and allies,” he said.

Washington on Friday reiterated its condemnation of China's persecution of the Uighurs in the northwestern Xinjiang region, and also condemned China’s human rights violations in Tibet and Hong Kong.

“We condemn Hong Kong authorities’ detention of democratic activists for exercising their rights and freedoms and call for their immediate release,” Mark Cassayre, the Deputy Chief of the US Mission to International Organisations in Geneva said in a speech at the UN Human Rights Council.

Earlier this week, a report written by dozens of experts for the Newlines Institute For Strategy and Policy said that China has broken every single provision in the United Nations Convention on Genocide – to which China is a signatory - in its treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority.

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