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British FM Says Engagement is the Right way to Address Human Rights in China

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband says he has raised human rights in talks with Chinese officials this week, but adds that sensitive issues should not interfere with the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Speaking with reporters Thursday after a meeting in Beijing with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Miliband said Britain does not waste any opportunities to raise its concerns about human rights in China.

But from Britain's point of view, he said engagement, not isolation is the right way forward.

As the Olympics near, China is coming under increasing pressure from activists, rights groups and even Hollywood to improve its human rights record.

Standing at Milband's side, China's foreign minister dismissed attempts to link human rights to the Olympics. Yang argued that people in China enjoy extensive freedom of speech.

Miliband is wrapping up a five day visit to China. He is scheduled to meet later Thursday with China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and address students at Peking University on Friday before returning home.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.