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Pompeo to meet top Chinese diplomat in Hawaii in bid to ease tensions

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly plans to “quietly” meet China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Hawaii in efforts to ease rising tensions with Beijing over a range of issues after his recent anti-China remarks.

According to a Saturday report by the US-based Politico news outlet, Pompeo  was planning the Hawaii trip “quietly” and the arrangements were not yet finalized.

The report came as the top US diplomat has recently become an outspoken critic of China on various issues, ranging from accusing the country of initiating the coronavirus pandemic to censuring Beijing’s policy on Hong Kong and its alleged ill-treatment of the country’s ethnic and religious minorities.

However, the US State Department and China’s embassy in Washington have not yet confirmed the planned meeting.

This is while Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post daily also reported that Yang, state councilor and member of the Communist Party Politburo, will represent Beijing in the meeting citing an unnamed source.

Ties between the world’s two largest economies have deteriorated in recent months, with US President Donald Trump going as far as threatening to sever relations with China.

Trump slammed Beijing over the recently-passed national security law by Hong Kong’s legislative council, claiming that China had broken its word regarding the autonomy of the former British colony and vowing that the territory no longer warranted US economic privileges.

“We will take action to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China,” Trump said, further threatening to impose sanctions on individuals seen as responsible for “smothering - absolutely smothering - Hong Kong’s freedom.”

The development came after Hong Kong’s legislature debated and passed the Beijing-proposed bill on Wednesday that criminalizes sedition, secession and subversion against the mainland. It would further pave the way for Chinese national security institutions to operate in the city for the first time since 1997, when Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule.

Pompeo also described the passage of the national security law in Hong Kong as a “death knell” for the global financial hub. He also slammed China last week for criticizing the US over its brutal crackdown of anti-racism protesters, dismissing it as “laughable propaganda.”

In his statement, Pompeo launched a strong attack against the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), criticizing Beijing for what he called "continuing contempt for the truth and scorn for law."

"The CCP's propaganda efforts -- seeking to conflate the United States' actions in the wake of the death of George Floyd with the CCP's denial of basic human rights and freedom -- should be seen for the fraud that they are," Pompeo claimed.

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam, however, accused the US and its Western allies of “double standards” in their response to the city’s national security law, citing the ongoing suppression of anti-police brutality protests across the US.

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