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Clinton, China Premier Meet Press

April 8, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton met at the White House today with Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji and told reporters that despite China’s efforts at reform, it must ``give citizens greater freedom″ to enhance their lives.

``It is troubling that in the past year China has taken some steps backward on human rights and arrested people″ for expressing their views, Clinton said in the opening moments of a joint news conference.

At the same time, he stressed that the two leaders had made progress on trade issues, and said he hopes obstacles blocking China’s entry into the World Trade Organization could be cleared away by year’s end.

Zhu, who sprinkled his remarks with a few words of English, said his visit should not be measured by the number of agreements the two sides reach.

``What is the key is that the PRC (People’s Republic of China) delegation has the opportunity to meet people in different walks of life,″ he said.

In a curious comment for the leader of a Communist power, he added, ``We believe that maybe the friends that are maybe able to say `No’ to you are the best friends for you.″

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