Hillary Clinton has told China that the US considers human rights concerns secondary to economic survival.
Arriving in China on her first visit as US secretary of state, Mrs Clinton promised a new relationship between the two countries, one she considers to be the world’s most important of the 21st century.
Mrs Clinton landed in Beijing from South Korea, where she lashed out at the North Korean “tyranny” of its leader Kim Jong-il.
But in contrast she offered a conciliatory hand of friendship to Mr Kim’s ally China, contradicting hostile policies both she and President Barack Obama promised during their presidential campaigns last year.
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She said she would continue to press China on issues such as human rights and Tibet, but added: “Our pressing on those issues can’t interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis.”
Recent American presidents, her husband Bill Clinton included, began their terms of office promising to “get tough” with China over issues from human rights to trade.