U.S. to Press Human Rights at U.S.-China Summit

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This week's U.S.-China summit could be critical between the two countries after a year marked by prickly exchanges on a range of issues. U.S. President Barak Obama is likely to push the Chinese leader Hu Jintao to further remove trade restrictions and to improve human rights.

U.S. President Barack Obama is preparing to bring up the issue of human rights with Chinese leader Hu Jintao at a Washington summit coming up on Wednesday.

Some U.S. analysts see Hu's trip as the most important state visit in 30 years. 2010 was a contentious year for the leaders of the world's two biggest economies—with heated exchanges over currency rates, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and the status of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began to set the tone at a China policy speech on Friday. She rejected what she called "zero-sum 19th century theories" that see conflict between the two countries as inevitable.

[Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State]:
"Some in the region and some here at home see China's growth as a threat that will lead either to Cold War-style conflict or American decline, and some in China worry that the United States is bent on containing China's rise and constraining China's growth, a view that is stoking a new streak of assertive Chinese nationalism. We reject those views."

Ms. Clinton said relations between the two countries are at a "critical juncture." She wants to see real action, on real issues at the summit on Wednesday (January 19).

She urged Chinese leaders to further open its markets to U.S. manufactured goods and farm products and to allow its currency to appreciate faster.

Obama met with advocates on Thursday for greater protection of human rights in China for more than an hour at the White House. The Washington Post reported, he's also exploring ways of reaching Chinese citizens directly using technology.

Ben Yang

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