By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: CNN Presidential Town Hall

United States President Joe Biden said Wednesday that China will pay a price for abusing human rights.

Biden made the statement when asked at a televised event regarding China’s handling of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang’s far western region.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has drawn global flak for holding the minority Uighurs in internment camps and other abuses related to human rights.

“Well, there will be repercussions for China and he knows that,” Biden said of Xi, when pressed on the issue at the town hall event televised on broadcast news network CNN.

The President said the U.S. will reassert its role in speaking up for human rights, adding he would work with international communities to protect them.

“China is trying very hard to become a world leader and to get that moniker and be able to do that they have to gain the confidence of other countries,” Biden said on his first official trip since taking office as president in January.

“As long as they are engaged in activity that is contrary to basic human rights, it is going to be hard for them to do that,” Biden added.

In a phone call with Xi, Biden emphasized the nation’s priority of preserving an open a free Indo-Pacific region — where China and the United States are the major strategic rivals.

He also voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and rights issues, such as its Hong Kong crackdown, the Xinjiang internments, and increasingly assertive actions in Asia, including toward Taiwan, which China claims as its own.

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