Beijing: (Agencies:21/2/2009): US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has met Chinese civil society leaders in Beijing, as she concluded her first foreign trip as top US diplomat.
Amnesty International and a pro-Tibet group voiced shock Friday after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed not to let human rights concerns hinder cooperation with China.
On the third and final day of her stay in China had meetings with China’s leaders to urge stronger US-China ties.
She said bilateral co-operation on global issues such as climate change and the economy was "imperative". These would take precedence over points of friction between the two governments, such as human rights and Tibet, she added.
Students for a Free Tibet said Clinton’s remarks sent the wrong signal to China at a sensitive time.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch had sent a letter to Clinton before her maiden Asia visit urging her to raise human rights concerns with Chinese leaders.
On Saturday, Mrs Clinton held talks with President Hu Jintao, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.
Issues topping the agenda during these discussions were the global economy, climate change and negotiations with North Korea.
Before arriving in Beijing, Mrs Clinton said the debate with China over human rights, Taiwan and Tibet should not interfere with attempts to reach consensus on broader issues.
Her week-long Asian tour has included stops in Japan, Indonesia and South Korea.