Clinton vows to expand cooperation with ChinaFebruary 21st, 2009 - 2:44 pm ICT by IANS
Beijing, Feb 21 (DPA) US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Saturday met Chinese leaders for talks that were expected to focus on the global economy, climate change and other international issues.
Clinton was expected to discuss tensions over North Korea with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, following talks with her South Korean counterpart Friday.
“As we start the new administration of President Obama, we want to deepen and broaden our relationship (with China),” Clinton said.
Yang said China wanted to build “long-term, stable, healthy and progressive relations” with the new US administration.
“The current situation calls upon us to strengthen dialogue and exchanges, increase mutual trust and cooperation, and to upgrade the bilateral ties to a new height,” Yang said.
Clinton is to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao later Saturday.
In an editorial Friday, the official People’s Daily newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party, called Clinton’s visit the “grand finale” of her week-long Asian trip, praising her for a pragmatic approach.
But rights groups Saturday said they were “shocked” by Clinton apparently giving a low priority to concerns over China’s human rights record.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other groups said they were worried by Clinton’s remarks late Friday in Seoul, where she said the US would still press China on rights issues.
“But our pressing on those issues can’t interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis,” she said.
“Amnesty International is shocked and extremely disappointed by US Secretary Clinton’s comments that human rights will not be a priority in her diplomatic engagement with China,” T. Kumar, Amnesty’s US advocacy director for the Asia-Pacific, said in a statement.
Clinton is scheduled to visit a Sino-US power plant using “clean coal” technology, and attend a church service in Beijing Sunday morning.
In Seoul, Clinton called on North Korea to fulfill its nuclear disarmament promises and return to the negotiating table, while warning it against making further threats against South Korea.
“North Korea is not going to get a different relationship with the US while insulting and refusing dialogue with South Korea,” she said after meeting South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung Hwan.
Yu is scheduled to visit Beijing for talks next week.
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