Pompeo: Countries should reject China's demands to repatriate Uighurs
© Aaron Schwartz

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump isolated amid Syria furor | Pompeo, Pence to visit Turkey in push for ceasefire | Turkish troops advance in Syria | Graham throws support behind Trump's sanctions Graham: Erdoğan pledged to Trump to stay away from Kurdish territory in Syria Trump honors Stanley Cup champions, talks impeachment, Turkey MORE reportedly said on Sunday that Central Asian nations should “resist” Chinese demands to repatriate Uighur Muslims, a persecuted minority in China.

In a meeting with foreign ministers representing Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Pompeo said Beijing sought to “erase” the Uighur minority under the pretext of fighting terrorism, according to Reuters.

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“I want to make clear that China’s repressive campaign in Xinjiang is not about terrorism,” Pompeo told reporters, referencing the province where members of the minority have been detained, after the meeting.

“It’s about China’s attempt to erase its own citizens," he added. "We call on all countries to resist China’s demands to repatriate the Uighurs.”

The remarks come ahead of this week's United Nations General Assembly, during which the U.S. is projected to call out treatment of the Uighurs in China, Reuters noted. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will reportedly host an event on the Xinjiang “human rights crisis” Tuesday, and the Trump administration has considered sanctions against Xinjiang officials, according to the news service.