China, US agree to implement consensus reached between both countries

Beijing, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- The United States secretary of state and a politburo member of the Communist Party of China agreed at a two-day meeting in Hawaii to take action to implement the consensus reached between the two countries, official Chinese media reported Thursday.

The meeting between Mike Pompeo and Yang Jiechi was the first high-level encounter between the two major world powers since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic and comes at the lowest point of bilateral relations after both Pompeo and US President Donald Trump have blamed China for COVID-19.

The People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, reported that the two countries “agreed to take actions to honestly implement the consensus reached by” Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in reference to the latest agreements between them during trade negotiations.

Pompeo and Yang, who is director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, met over Tuesday and Wednesday on the US island of Hawaii.

“The two sides exchanged in-depth views on China-US relations and regional and international issues of common concern,” the People’s Daily said.

Pompeo and Yang “have comprehensively elaborated their respective positions and believed that the dialogue was constructive,” it added.

The two countries also agreed “to keep in touch and communication,” the newspaper said.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued after the meeting, the White House said that the US secretary of state “stressed important American interests and the need for fully-reciprocal dealings between the two nations across commercial, security, and diplomatic interaction.”

“He also stressed the need for full transparency and information sharing to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and prevent future outbreaks,” the statement added.

Pompeo has been very critical of China in the past few months – even more so than Trump – and repeatedly said that the coronavirus emerged from a Chinese laboratory.

Relations between the two powers, which were already strained on account of the trade war that they have been locked in for more than two years, have deteriorated considerably since the coronavirus outbreak began to severely affect the US.

The proximity of the US presidential elections in November has prompted Trump and his team to launch scathing attacks on China since early April for its management of the crisis, accusing it of hiding information on the disease.

The talks between Pompeo and Jiechi in Honolulu were held behind closed doors with no formal announcement or media presence.

US sources say the meeting was held at China’s initiative.

Yang had also met Pompeo in New York in August on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

On Wednesday, as the two officials concluded their meeting in Hawaii, the foreign ministers of G7 – the world’s most industrialized and wealthy countries – urged China to reconsider its controversial national security law on Hong Kong.

“We strongly urge the Government of China to re-consider this decision,” said the foreign ministers of United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the EU’s High Representative said in a statement issued by the US department of state late Wednesday.

“The proposed national security law would risk seriously undermining the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and the territory’s high degree of autonomy. It would jeopardize the system which has allowed Hong Kong to flourish and made it a success over many years,” they said.

On Wednesday, Trump signed into law a bill for the rights of the Uighurs, providing for sanctions against Chinese officials suspected of abuses against this and other Muslim minorities in the province of Xinjiang.

The US Department of State estimates that more than 1 million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other Muslim minorities have been detained by the Chinese government in internment camps, where they are reportedly subjected to abuse, torture and forced labor. EFE-EPA

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