Mike Pompeo asks countries to give asylum to minorities fleeing China

NUR-SUOLTAN (KAZAKHSTAN): Secretary of State of the United States Mike Pompeo He asked countries to offer asylum to ethnic minorities fleeing the troubled Xinjiang region of China during a visit on Sunday to Kazakhstan, a country rich in oil, which borders the region.

We simply ask them to provide safe haven and asylum for those seeking to flee from China, Pompeo said in a press briefing with Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi.

Protect human dignity, just do the right thing, said Pompeo.

Pompeo met with senior officials in the former Soviet Kazakhstan while completing a five-nation tour in two countries where Russia and China enjoy privileged interests.

His visit to the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan, also saw him meet with Kazakhs who say his relatives are being held in Xinjiang, where it is believed that more than one million ethnic, Kazakhs and other minorities were imprisoned as part of a repression of unprecedented security in the region.

Kazakhstan has allowed several ethnic Kazakhs of Chinese citizens who fled the region to remain in the country, but has not given them asylum, a resistance that local activists attribute to Chinese pressure.

Pompeo also praised Kazakhstan's rapid action on the new coronavirus that has killed more than 300 people and infected more than 14,000 in mainland China and beyond, forcing governments around the world to take drastic measures.

Kazakhstan has currently hospitalized more than 40 people who returned to the country from China with flu-like symptoms, but have not yet confirmed any cases of the disease.

On Sunday night, Pompeo will fly to Uzbekistan, a country of 33 million that is emerging from almost three decades of isolation.

Pompeo also visited two other former Soviet countries, Belarus and Ukraine, as part of a trip that began with a stop in Britain.

Before the visit, Pompeo emphasized that the countries of Central Asia on their itinerary want to be sovereign and independent, and Washington had an important opportunity to help them achieve that.

But he also recognized a lot of activity (in the region): Chinese activity, Russian activity.

Washington has often struggled to remain in the Central Asian states that were part of the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991.

At the height of hostilities in Afghanistan after the attacks of September 11, NATO and the United States maintained important logistics centers in the region, but these have already closed.

Russia has retained military bases and runs security and trade blocs that have helped strengthen its position there.

But Central Asia is also looking more and more eastward at Belt and Road's global trillion dollar business plan as a panacea to treat battered economies.

Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have seen leadership transitions since John Kerry toured the region in 2015, the last US secretary of state. UU. On visiting.

In Kazakhstan, Pompeo would meet with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and his predecessor, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who last year surprised the Kazakhs by retiring from the presidency after almost three decades in office.

In Uzbekistan, he was going to hold talks with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who has embarked on ambitious reforms, welcoming tourism and investment in the republic once isolated, while keeping the authoritarian system intact.

Mirziyoyev's hardline predecessor, Islam Karimov, turned his back on the United States in 2005 after a dispute over the bloody repression of the Uzbek government against the protests.

The relationship had healed a bit at the time of Karimov's death in 2016. Mirziyoyev, who visited Trump at the White House in 2018, reflected on the benefits of joining the Eurasian Economic Union backed by Moscow, a block of five countries that include Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. That is seen as a key vehicle for Russia to influence the region.

In addition to holding bilateral meetings, Pompeo on Monday in Tashkent will hold a meeting with foreign ministers from the five former Soviet countries of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

This format was first tested under Kerry to improve regional, economic, environmental and security cooperation.