China says its defense minister has defended his country’s policy on the controversial issues of Hong Kong and the northwestern territory of Xinjiang in a telephone conversation with his U.S. counterpart.
The official Xinhua News Agency says Wei Fenghe also raised the issues of Taiwan and the South China Sea in the Tuesday conversation.
While it’s usual for China to reassert its claim to sovereignty over both those areas in talks with the U.S., the mention of Hong Kong and Xinjiang is more unusual.
Semi-autonomous Hong Kong has been wracked by five months of anti-government protests that Beijing accuses the U.S. and other foreign forces of encouraging.
Meanwhile, China has come under criticism for detaining more than 1 million members of Xinjiang’s native Turkic Muslim Uighurs.