Blinken raises COVID-19 origins, other U.S. concerns, in call with Chinese counterpart

FILE PHOTO: Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in Washington, U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed the importance of cooperation and transparency in probes of the origins of COVID-19 in a call with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on Friday, the State Department said, and also discussed a range of other sensitive topics.

The two diplomats discussed North Korea policy, the department said. Blinken expressed U.S. concerns over the deterioration of democratic norms in Hong Kong and the “genocide” of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, and called on China to stop its pressure campaign against Taiwan and to release “wrongfully detained” U.S. and Canadian citizens, it said.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey;Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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