U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a six-nation tour of Asia. She talked to leaders of Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Japan, South Korea and China. Among the issues discussed. China's military power and its poor human rights record.
"I think the overarching purpose of the trip was to show Asians that the United States is focused on the concerns in the region."
This is Gordon Chang, author of the book, "The Coming Collapse of China:"
"Her visit to a Beijing church was, of course, symbolic. She could have gone to a church in South Korea, but she chose instead to do so in Beijing. Thereby highlighting one of the concerns that the United States and others have had about Chinese human rights."
Secretary of State Rice also raised the issue of China's effort to buy advanced weapons from European countries:
"There are concerns about the rise of Chinese military spending and potentially Chinese military power and its increasing sophistication, and that the European Union should do nothing to contribute to a circumstance in which Chinese military modernization draws on European technology."
Voice: Richard Wolfe is senior White House correspondent for Newsweek magazine. He says the U.S. has made a persuasive argument on this issue:
"The dynamic has already changed in Europe, mostly because of this determined opposition from the [George W.] Bush administration to the lifting of the E-U arms embargo on the sale of arms to China. We're hearing signals from certainly the British, and also the French, to some extent...that, yes, at some stage they would like to lift this embargo but not now the time isn't right. They have other priorities… So, actually on the question of the E-U and arms sales to China, I think Condi Rice was pretty successful, both from this trip and the previous trips to Europe."
Observers say that Ms. Rice's trip to meet with Asian leaders so soon after her appointment as U.S. Secretary of State, demonstrates the importance of the region and the need to resolve differences.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's tour of Asia took her to Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Japan, South Korea, and China. Throughout her trip, Ms. Rice emphasized the United States' commitment to promoting democracy":
"We will stand by the Afghan people as they go through the next phase of their democratic development, the parliamentary elections that will take place this fall. We look forward to continuing to help in the reconstruction of Afghanistan."
Voice: Gordon Chang is author of the book "The Coming Collapse of China." He says that U.S. promotion of democracy is critically important in the case of China.
"We have to go back just a few years when American presidents and others were talking about freedom and human rights in the Soviet Union, and many people downplayed the effect of statements that were made. But, after the fall of Soviet communism, we learned quite a lot about the inspirational nature of what the United States said, and the effect that it had on dissidents in the Eastern Europe countries and in the Soviet Union itself.... We can't point to any one effect that this will have today in China, but over the long term this is absolutely crucial because many of the problems that we have with China, which go from not only human rights but North Korea and geopolitical issues, would certainly be solved by a much more representative regime in Beijing."
Voice: Richard Wolff is White House correspondent for Newsweek magazine. He says that efforts to promote democracy in Pakistan are complicated by the need to secure its cooperation in the war on terrorism:
"There is always talk about urging President [Pervez] Musharraf to change his role, especially with the army, with the military forces in Pakistan. But this dialogue doesn't go far because of the security importance there."
Voice: Despite the differences, encouraging democratic reform in Pakistan and other Asian countries will remain a U.S. priority.