China accuses U.S. of 'slander' over Xinjiang comments

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the plight of Muslims in the Xinjiang region during a visit to Central Asia

Pompeo Warns Kazakhstan of China's Influence

On Sunday, an interviewer from Radio Azattyq in Kazakhstan asked Pompeo "what kind of message" the NPR incident sends to countries whose governments "routinely suppress press freedom". "However, for the influx of new investments, it is necessary to have the rule of law, transparency, and investment protection in Kazakhstan". 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".

"It's a flawless message about press freedoms", Pompeo said.

The United States and Uzbekistan share a common stance on security in the region. Pompeo said on Sunday that Kazakhstan is a reliable partner of the United States in Central Asia and pledged to foster the "Enhanced Strategic Partnership" between the two countries. The brouhaha back in Washington between Pompeo and NPR brought heightened attention to the issue on his trip and his comments slipped from standard US press freedom talking points into a defense of State's barring of an NPR reporter from the trip in a fashion more common to Central Asian politicians.

Both foreign affairs chiefs agreed that they still need to find solutions to issues that they have disagreed upon in the past.

Pompeo also spoke to President Mirziyoyev during his visit to Uzbekistan on February 3. "But in the meantime, some countries, particularly the United States, have overreacted inappropriately".

"I have and will continue to commend the Kazakhstani government for its leadership in repatriating foreign terrorists fighters and their families from Iraq and Syria", he said. Pompeo announced that "the United States will allocate $ 1 million to improve trade and connectivity between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan", which will have a positive impact on the entire Central Asian region.

"We are working closely and hand in hand with the Chinese government to solve the current global epidemiological challenge", he said, adding that he will learn more about the flights shortly.

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". In 2018, the US provided $ 2.2 million to support these efforts.

Uzbekistan, as a neighboring country of Afghanistan, values U.S. policy in Afghanistan very much because the U.S. presence in Afghanistan "is a stabilizing factor in the situation and prevents the advance of terrorism and extremism and radicalization ... as well as drug trafficking and crime and others serious challenges and threats".

In a meeting with President Alexander Lukashenko, Pompeo said he hoped to help provide an opportunity for Belarus to achieve the sovereignty and independence it seeks.

"We want to see Central Asia as a region of stable development, prosperity, and cooperation, and we would really not like to feel on ourselves unfavorable political consequences in relation to some competition in our region between large powers", he said.

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