Key U.S. senator to work on way forward for China Uighur bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on Wednesday he would work with colleagues in the Senate to find a way to advance legislation calling for a tougher response to Beijing’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority.

“The Chinese Communist Party must be held accountable for severe abuses of human rights in Xinjiang. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues on the way forward for this important piece of legislation,” Senator Jim Risch, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement.

The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives voted nearly unanimously on Tuesday for the bill, which would require the Trump administration to toughen its response to China’s crackdown on its Uighur Muslim minority.

To become law, the measure must still pass the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate before it can be sent to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign into law or veto.

In response to the House vote, China warned on Wednesday the U.S. legislation will affect bilateral cooperation, clouding prospects for a near-term deal to end a trade war.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Tom Brown