Clinton Says U.S. Should Aid China On Clean Energy
ALEX COHEN, host:
This is Day to Day. I'm Alex Cohen.
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And I'm Madeleine Brand. Wall Street is still selling off after last week's huge losses. The Dow was down at the open on news that the government may buy up 40 percent of the massive bank Citigroup. Obviously, the financial crisis here has repercussions around the world.
COHEN: It was one of the topics Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed in China. But while there, she also wanted to introduce Asia to the new America. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing.
ANTHONY KUHN: Secretary Clinton's decision to put China's human-rights issues lower on the agenda than economic and environmental issues was a blunted mission of the West's limited leverage in promoting political change in China. Western human-rights groups were, not surprisingly, dismayed at the approach, and Chinese commentators were, not surprisingly, relieved and reassured by it. China's most stridently nationalistic tabloid, the Global Times, called Clinton's approach realistic and suggested that other Western leaders would do well to follow her lead. Hong Kong's Communist-backed Wen Wei Po newspaper said Clinton's tactful and inoffensive approach was a bit like tai chi; in other words, soft and graceful movements which conceal an iron fist.
Of course, reactions are not yet in from all quarters of Asia, notably North Korea. Clinton commented that she did not think North Korea's leadership succession was a taboo topic, but some leaders in Pyongyang, who have been rattling their sabers recently, may not see it that way, and it remains to be seen what Clinton will do when she eventually does broach the topic of human rights with Beijing. In any event, Clinton now seems to be in the driver's seat in coordinating the new administration's policy towards China. Under the Bush administration, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was put in charge of the so-called strategic economic dialogue between Beijing and Washington. Clinton said that she and Paulson's successor, Timothy Geithner, would now take over the dialogue, which would be expanded to cover security and environmental issues. Anthony Kuhn, NPR News, Beijing.
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