US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed the need for cooperation and transparency over the origins of Covid-19 in a call with Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on Friday and raised other contentious topics, including China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Yang, China’s top diplomat, expressed Beijing’s serious concern to Blinken that some people in the United States were spreading the absurd story bout the coronavirus escaping from a Wuhan laboratory.
Yang, the head of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission of China’s ruling Communist Party, also told Blinken that Washington should handle Taiwan-related issues carefully and appropriately.
The world’s two largest economies are deeply at odds over issues ranging from trade and technology to human rights and the coronavirus. Washington should work with Beijing to put ties back on track, Yang said.
The State Department said the diplomats also discussed North Korea policy and that Blinken expressed U.S. concerns over the deterioration of democratic norms in Hong Kong and what Washington describes as the genocide of Muslim Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang region.
Blinken also called on China to stop its pressure campaign against Taiwan and to release wrongfully detained US and Canadian citizens, it said in a statement.