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China open to human rights dialogue

  |   Feb. 26, 2008 at 9:40 PM
BEIJING, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Tuesday his nation is interested in reviving talks with the United States about human rights issues.

Yang broached the idea at the conclusion of a meeting in Beijing with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who is on an Asian tour, The Washington Post reported.

"We are willing to resume the human rights dialogue," said Yang, whose country is facing international criticism on the subject ahead of the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. "We are willing to have exchanges and discussions on human rights with the United States and other countries on the basis of mutual respect, equality and non-interference."

Rice, who sought Chinese cooperation in helping to convince North Korea to disclose its nuclear programs, said later that a date for the renewed talks on human rights issues would be arranged as soon as possible. "That is something we've been trying to do for some time," she said.

Rice's next stop was Wednesday in Tokyo where she and Japanese officials are to discuss a range of topics, including nuclear weapons programs in North Korea and Iran, and human rights issues in Darfur and Burma, the Post said.

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