(Nikkei Asia Review) ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took advantage of his visit to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan last week to lambast China over its treatment of its Muslim minorities and reliability as a business partner, but was met with a lukewarm response from the two Central Asian states.
Pompeo, who was making the first visit to the region by America's top-ranking diplomat since 2015, apparently left his hosts in Nur-Sultan and Tashkent feeling uncomfortable and drew the ire of China's embassy in Uzbekistan, which leveled accusations of "slander." [...]
"Any visit by a top U.S. official to any Central Asian country is a big deal. It is a sign of respect and recognition that is highly appreciated by the governments in the region. In this sense, Secretary Pompeo's visit definitely gave a boost to U.S.-Kazakhstan and U.S.-Uzbekistan relations, albeit his strong verbal attacks on China were most likely not appreciated," Nargis Kassenova, Senior Fellow, Program on Central Asia, at Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, told the Nikkei Asian Review. [...]
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