BEIJING, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush believes important issues can be discussed with China if the two countries are truly engaged, first lady Laura Bush said Monday.
"When you look at the very recent history, since the United States has ... had a relationship with China, starting in the '70s, the economy has opened up," the first lady said from Beijing on NBC's "Today" show. "There's a rising middle class. And all of those things are encouraging signs. But I also believe that as economies open up, that eventually governments do, too. "
The Bushes were in Beijing to watch the first few days of the Summer Olympics. Bush said she her husband were moved by meeting the U.S. athletes.
"I think it really means a lot to our Olympians to have their president be here to watch them," Bush said.
While visiting Thailand before arriving in Beijing, Bush criticized China's handling of human rights and the first lady called on China to do more to stop human rights abuses in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
China can be helpful, she said, "and I think they are willing to be helpful."