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Wednesday, July 1, 1998 Published at 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Clinton hails China as 'force for stability'

Shanghai is China's financial centre

President Clinton has been taking part in another live broadcast as part of his two days of official engagements in Shanghai.

Speaking in a live phone-in programme described as "fast-talking" and "animated" on Shanghai Radio, which covers a population area of 150m people, Mr Clinton told one caller that the emerging China was more open, prosperous and dynamic.

To another, he described China as a force for stability in Asia's current economic crisis.

The BBC's Colin Blane reports from Shanghai on US President Bill Clinton's radio appearance
The American President answered listeners' questions covering a wide range of issues - education, promotion of libraries, relations with Iran and sports.

The phone-in follows Monday's question and answer session with Beijing students which was relayed live on television and a live news conference with President Jiang Zemin on Saturday. Both were carried live by Chinese televison - a major change of policy by the authorities.

President Clinton on "football diplomacy" with Iran (18")
Asked on the radio phone-in which country would win the World Cup, President Clinton said Brazil would be "hard to beat."

A BBC correspondent in Shanghai says US officials are very pleased with the way the Chinese have allowed the President to broadcast his ideas.

Reducing the trade surplus

During his visit President Clinton has already set the seal on $3bn worth of trade deals between the US and China.

"A chance for Clinton, a challenge for China": BBC Correspondent Bridget Kendall from Beijing
US officials say the contracts include an $800m deal for the US aircraft manufacturer Boeing to supply 17 passenger aircraft.

China currently has a large and politically problematic trade surplus with the US, and one of the aims of President Clinton's visit is to rectify the trade balance by agreeing sales for American companies.

Activist detained

[ image: Clinton:
Clinton: "freedom strengthens stability"
Meanwhile the authorities in China have briefly detained prominent pro-democracy activist, Wang Youcai, who had recently applied for permission to set up an opposition party.

Mr Wang had served a prison term for his part in the 1989 pro-democracy protests which were crushed by the Chinese authorities.

Bill Clinton: how human rights will strengthen China (excerpts)
Earlier President Clinton ended his visit to the Chinese capital, Beijing, by urging the Chinese Government to respect and preserve the basic human rights of its people, arguing that "freedom strengthens stability".

Speaking at Beijing University - one of the main centres for the 1989 pro-democracy movement - his speech was described by US officials as the most important of his nine-day visit.

Prosperous future

[ image: Saturday's Clinton-Jiang debate was the main news in the country]
Saturday's Clinton-Jiang debate was the main news in the country
He told a packed hall of students that for China to have a prosperous future, it must give its citizens the freedom to reach their potential.

"I believe that everywhere, people aspire to be treated with dignity, to give voice to their opinions, to choose their own leaders, to associate with whom they wish, to worship how, when and where they want," he said.

In Shanghai he will hold discussions with community and business leaders, legal professionals and members of the arts, media and religious communities.

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Internet Links

Clinton in China: China daily special report

President Clinton in China: US State Dept.

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