U.S., China disagree on Nobel but look to cooperate: Holder

BEIJING (BestGrowthStock) – China and the United States fundamentally disagree over the jailed Chinese winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Attorney General said on Thursday as he nevertheless stressed the potential for Sino-U.S. cooperation.

After two days of meetings with Chinese officials in Beijing, Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters that dissident Liu Xiaobao, the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, came up in the talks, but was not a dominant topic.

“That issue did come up, and this is an area in which the United States and China have a fundamental disagreement,” he told a news conference in Beijing in answer to a question about Liu.

“President Obama has made clear his position on this issue. We believe that China should respect the fundamental human rights of all its citizens, and that includes Liu,” said Holder, the Obama administration’s top legal officer.

He did not give any details of the exchanges on Liu. Washington has welcomed the prize and urged the release of Liu, serving 11 years in jail for boldly criticizing party policies.

China’s ruling Communist Party has said Liu is nothing more than a criminal. Beijing has vehemently criticized foreign politicians and governments who have supported the Nobel award for him, suggesting they are trying to undermine party rule.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu on Thursday condemned the latest report on the human rights situation in the country by the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, saying it “distorted reality” and “made irresponsible remarks.”

“We advise the commission to change their direction, stop issuing these reports and stop their mistaken behavior of interfering in China’s internal affairs,” Ma said in a statement on the Foreign Ministry’s website (www.mfa.gov.cn).

Holder said the two governments were nonetheless looking to cooperate more in law enforcement, including in fighting transnational crime, terror and drug trafficking.

China has said it faces threats from separatist militants in its far west Xinjiang region, where members of the Muslim Uighur minority have resisted Beijing’s political and religious restrictions. The U.S. has expressed concern about those controls and the human rights of Uighurs.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)

U.S., China disagree on Nobel but look to cooperate: Holder