UNITED NATIONS (AP) — America's top diplomat says Central Asian nations should reject Chinese demands to repatriate ethnic minorities to China, where they face repression.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pahm-PAY'-oh) says Beijing's detention of Uighur (WEE'-gur) Muslims in western China has nothing to do with terrorism, as China claims, but is an attempt "to erase" minority cultures and religions.
He says it's important for all countries "to resist" China's demands that Uighurs who've fled the campaign in Xinjiang province be sent back to China.
Pompeo made the comments in a Sunday meeting with the foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly.
China says the detention sites are "vocational" centers aimed at training and skills development. China has rejected criticism of its policies.