US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday urged China to keep buying US debt as she wrapped up her first overseas trip, during which she agreed to work closely with Beijing on the financial crisis.
Clinton made the plea shortly before leaving China, the final stop on a four-nation Asian tour that also took her to Japan, Indonesia and South Korea, where she worked the crowds to try to restore the standing of the US abroad.
In Beijing, she called on Chinese authorities to continue buying US Treasuries, saying it would help jump-start the US economy and stimulate imports of Chinese goods.
“By continuing to support American Treasury instruments the Chinese are recognizing our interconnection. We are truly going to rise or fall together,” Clinton said at the US embassy.
Clinton had sought to focus on economic and environmental issues in Beijing, saying Washington’s concerns about the human rights situation should not be a distraction from those vital matters.
Beijing’s human rights record emerged nonetheless as an issue, as dissidents on Saturday reported being harassed or intimidated by Chinese authorities.
Clinton and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (楊潔箎) largely agreed to disagree on human rights as they pledged future joint action on the economy and climate change.
The goodwill, also on display in her talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶), could raise hope for a new era of cooperation between the two largest greenhouse gas emitters and two of the world’s top three economies.
Clinton began her day by attending a Protestant church service in west Beijing. Later, She met Chinese women’s rights advocates at the US embassy, but continued to steer clear of speaking on contentious human rights issues.
While expressing understanding for the weighty economic and environmental issues, dissidents who reported continued confinement in their homes yesterday urged Washington to keep human rights on the agenda.
“Chinese human rights defenders and civil society would suffer even more if the international community does not pay enough attention and [place] enough pressure on China,” prominent dissident Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕) said.