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23 August 2017 04:22 (South Africa)

Obama to China: Free expression a worldwide right

In the middle of his four-nation East Asia trip, US President Barack Obama used a town hall meeting here to insist that individual freedom of expression is a universal right, not just an American idea. Although improving cooperative relations with China is a key part of this trip, Obama chose to make it clear that the principles underlying human rights are also crucial to the further development of US-China ties. Obama noted that while the US does not "seek to impose any system of government on any other nation, we also don't believe that the principles that we stand for are unique to our nation".  Earlier in his speech at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, the US president praised China's efforts in lifting millions of people out of poverty, but added, "We have known setbacks and challenges over the last 30 years. Our relationship has not been without disagreement and difficulty”. Obama is working overtime to find what may be an elusive political balance with China on human rights even as he tries to build a stronger partnership on a range of pressing economic and security matters, including a looming trade face-off, as well as the need to gain Chinese support in dealing with Iran’s and North Korea's nuclear ambitions. Obama is due to fly to Beijing later on Monday to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao for dinner. An online survey on US-China relations conducted in China showed 80% of Chinese respondents felt the US did not want to see their country rise. Read more in the AP and BBC, along with virtually every other newspaper and online news source. Read more: AP, BBC

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