Respect minorities, Obama urges China - Daily Nation

Respect minorities, Obama urges China

Tuesday November 17 2009

US President Barack Obama (2nd left) visits the Forbidden City in Beijing November 17, 2009. Obama wrangles over trade and currency policy with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao on Tuesday, with Iran and North Korea competing for attention at the summit of the two global powers. REUTERS

US President Barack Obama (2nd left) visits the Forbidden City in Beijing November 17, 2009. Obama wrangles over trade and currency policy with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao on Tuesday, with Iran and North Korea competing for attention at the summit of the two global powers. REUTERS 

BEIJING, Tuesday

US President Barack Obama said today he told China that all minorities should enjoy human rights and urged China to resume talks with the Dalai Lama’s representatives. Speaking at a news conference in Beijing, President Obama said he had also told Chinese President Hu Jintao about US beliefs on human rights.

Mr Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize this year but has been criticised by some who believe he is downplaying human rights issues.

In an address in Tokyo on Saturday, Mr Obama stressed the importance of human rights as a core US value. International watchdogs have urged Mr Obama to raise human rights, Tibet and Xinjiang during his China visit. Mr Obama did not meet Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, when he was in Washington in early October. But the Dalai Lama has said they may meet after Obama returns from China, which condemns the Buddhist monk as a separatist for demanding Tibetan self-determination.

Strains over trade

Meanwhile, President Obama urged a reluctant China today to let its yuan currency rise in value at a summit where strains over trade between the two giants crept into proclamations of goodwill.

Standing beside Mr Obama after their summit, President Hu avoided mentioning the yuan or the dollar. Instead, Mr Hu emphasised during a joint media appearance the need to avoid trade protectionism in a thinly veiled reference to China’s irritation over new US tariffs on Chinese-made tyres, steel pipes and other products.

With the US unemployment rate at 10.2 per cent, one of Mr Obama’s priorities during his four-day trip to China is pressing Beijing over the huge trade imbalance between the two countries, a move he believes would pave the way for greater US exports. US says an undervalued yuan disadvantages US manufacturers. (Reuters)