News

    Obama Sidesteps Issue of Asylum for Chinese Dissident Chen

    Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and President Obama at White House, Washington, D.C., April 30, 2012.
    Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and President Obama at White House, Washington, D.C., April 30, 2012.
    Kent Klein

    President Barack Obama avoided comment on Monday when asked by reporters whether the United States would offer political asylum to an escaped Chinese dissident. The president and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda held a news conference after meeting at the White House.

    With high-level U.S.-China talks set to start on Thursday in Beijing, the president sidestepped the delicate issue of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng.

    The blind lawyer fled house arrest last week and is reported to have entered the protection of U.S. diplomats in Beijing.

    Obama would not confirm that Chen is under U.S. protection or that American and Chinese diplomats are trying to negotiate an agreement for him to receive asylum.

    “Obviously, I am aware of the press reports on the situation in China, but I am not going to make a statement on the issue. What I would like to emphasize is that every time we meet with China, the issue of human rights comes up,” he said.

    Analysts say the issue could have implications beyond the upcoming strategic and economic talks between Washington and Beijing. China has been cooperating with the United States on global economic issues, working to discourage North Korea and Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and trying to prevent a war between Sudan and South Sudan.

    Obama and Noda criticized North Korea’s recent failed missile launch. The president said he has tried to ensure that Pyongyang is punished for provocative behavior.

    “The old pattern of provocation that then gets attention and somehow insists on the world purchasing good behavior from them - that that pattern is broken. What we said is that the more you engage in provocative acts, the more isolated you will become,” said Obama.

    The Japanese leader said North Korea’s action undermined efforts to resolve the situation peacefully. Noda also called on the international community to work together to discourage Pyongyang from conducting nuclear tests.

    Both leaders highlighted their agreement to move about 9,000 U.S. Marines from the Japanese island of Okinawa to other locations in the Pacific region.

    Obama praised Noda and the Japanese people for their country’s recovery from the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that struck Japan more than a year ago. Noda thanked Americans for their support.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: William
    May 01, 2012 7:27 AM
    Well isn't he the sidestepper and chief?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora