Clinton Laments China"s Refusal to Bend on Human Rights Issue
Compiled From News Services, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
President Bill Clinton expressed disappointment Monday with weekend talks in Beijing between Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher and Chinese leaders that brought angry exchanges over human rights.
Punctuating its resistance to U.S. pressure, China freed two dissidents and eased the surveillance on others Monday, just as Christopher left town.
The State Department, meanwhile, denied a newspaper report that Christopher, seeking to preserve a trade relationship with China, had softened U.S. demands for human rights progress this year.
But Christine Shelly, a department spokeswoman, left open the possibility of relaxed conditions in the future.
Christopher on Monday ended three days of tense talks in Beijing with only minor concessions on human rights but no breakthrough that would ensure continued close trade ties.
"I was disappointed with the results . . .," Clinton told reporters in Detroit, where he is attending a jobs conference of ministers from leading industrial nations.
Clinton declined to say whether China's continued resistance to U.S. pressure on human rights had influenced his decision, due in June, on whether to extend for a year preferential trade status to China.
"Our policy is the same. We'll just have to wait and see what happens between now and June. I'll make a judgment at the appropriate time," he said.
The Washington Post reported Monday that Christopher had offered China a compromise plan aimed at ending the yearly struggle over human rights and trade privileges in an effort to avert a bitter break. Under the proposal, the United States would soften its annual threat to revoke China's most-favored nation status, the Post said. …