U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has finished a whirlwind trip to China that included a flurry of meetings with official Chinese and private civil society leaders. She emphasized U.S. cooperation with China on efforts to combat the global financial crisis and climate change.
Secretary Clinton attended church services, participated in a Web chat, and met with women leaders in Beijing before departing China Sunday.
U.S. officials described the church service as private. But Secretary Clinton did take part in a Web chat hosted by the main official English language newspaper, China Daily. Prior to the event, China Daily's Web site posted video containing questions many citizens wanted answered by the U.S. official.
The video questions focused on U.S.-China relations under the new Obama administration, environmental issues and the challenges of being a woman leader.
Clinton Meets With AIDS Doctor
Secretary Clinton's meeting with civil society included Gao Yaojie, a grass-roots AIDS doctor and grandmother in her 80s. Since she began working with AIDS patients more than a decade ago, Gao has been in and out of detention, and remains closely monitored.
Official Chinese media this month announced that AIDS has become the top killer among infectious diseases in China.
Secretary Clinton met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao Saturday.
She said the two countries have agreed in principle to a strategic and economic dialogue for future bilateral relations. She said she hopes President Barack Obama and President Hu will be able to formally announce the details when they meet at the G20 economic summit in London in April.
Clinton Urges Greater Environment Cooperation
Speaking at a news conference following a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Saturday, Clinton also urged greater cooperation on the environment, saying the two countries "will build an important partnership to develop and deploy clean energy technologies designed to speed our transformation to low carbon economies." She said, "These technologies are essential both to spur sustainable economic growth in our countries and to contain the increasingly urgent problem of global climate change."
During a tour of a joint U.S.-China thermal power plant, Clinton urged China to avoid what she called the kind of environmental "mistakes" that accompanied development in Western countries.
The Chinese foreign minister said his country is ready for increased energy and environmental cooperation with the United States. He also said the two countries should work together to combat the global financial crisis.
China Pushes for Rejection of Protectionism
Yang said the two countries should enhance coordination of macroeconomic financial policies, work together for positive outcomes at the G20 financial summit in London, and reject protectionism in trade and investment.
Yang acknowledged the two sides also discussed the often contentious issue of human rights. But he said the two countries have different views on human rights because of differences in history, social system and culture.
Yang said the Chinese government will continue to engage in human rights dialogue with the United States "on the basis of equality and non-interference in each other's internal affairs."
China was the last stop on a four-country Asia tour that also included Japan, Indonesia and South Korea. This was Secretary Clinton's first overseas trip as the top US diplomat.