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Clinton presses China to help on global challenges

Associated Press Modified: May 4, 2012 at 5:45 am •  Published: May 4, 2012
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BEIJING (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday urged China to play a responsible role in the world by respecting human rights and helping to deal with challenges posed by Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs and violence in Syria and Sudan and South Sudan.

As the two countries scrambled to resolve a diplomatic crisis over a blind Chinese legal activist who sought shelter at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, Clinton did not mention Chen Guangcheng by name, but said she raise individual human rights cases with China.

"Of course, the United States continues to raise human rights because we believe that they are essential for every country to uphold," she said in a speech at the end of a two-day annual strategic dialogue with China.

"We raise specific matters of individuals and situations whenever necessary because we cannot ignore our areas of difference in the comprehensive relationship that we are building," Clinton said.

China's top diplomat Dai Bingguo called the talks a "tremendous" success with a candid exchange of views. He said human rights were discussed but there are differences.

"On the issue of human rights, no country can claim to be perfect. China will continue to stay on the right course it has chosen," Dai said.

He repeated China's stance that human rights should not be used as an "excuse to interfere in the internal affairs of countries."

Clinton specifically implored China to support international efforts to persuade North Korea to end provocative actions, get Iran to prove its nuclear program is peaceful and end fighting in Syria and two Sudans.

"Each of these crises represents a shared challenge to global security, and each provides an opportunity for us to work together more closely to advance our common interests in peace and stability," Clinton said.

China and Russia have balked at adopting tough new U.N. Security Council sanctions against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, which is continuing a brutal crackdown on its opponents. But Beijing has gone along with a U.N.-backed truce plan, also accepted by Assad, that calls for a cease-fire, international monitors and a political transition.

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