During his first call with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, US President Joe Biden raised the issue of human rights violations in Xinjiang, the White House said.
Mr. Biden was also questioning Mr. Xi on trade, the Hong Kong clampdown and continuing tensions with Taiwan.
Mr Xi warned Mr Biden that poor ties would be a tragedy for both countries, according to Chinese state television.
In recent years, tensions have surged over trade, espionage and the pandemic.
With Beijing repeatedly calling on the new administration in Washington to strengthen relations that had deteriorated under Donald Trump, the China-US relationship is vital to both parties and the wider world.
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In what is seen as a sign of goodwill, the call came just ahead of the Lunar New Year.
Following the call, Mr. Biden tweeted, “I told him I will work with China when it benefits the American people.”
“underscored his fundamental concerns about Beijing’s coercive and unfair economic practices, crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan”emphasized his fundamental concerns about the coercive and unfair economic practices of Beijing, the crackdown in Hong Kong, the violation of human rights in Xinjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including towards Taiwan.
In what the state terms “re-education camps” in Xinjiang province, China is accused by rights groups of detaining more than a million Uighurs. There is evidence that Uighurs are used as slave labour and women are forcibly sterilised as a predominantly Muslim minority group.
The claims are refuted by China.
The two leaders also exchanged views on countering the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as on the common problems facing global health stability, climate change and arms proliferation prevention.
CCTV, the Chinese state broadcaster, said the two “had an in-depth exchange of views on the bilateral relationship and major international and regional issues”
Source: BBC News