Friday, July 3, 1998 Published at 18:57 GMT 19:57 UK
Clinton leaves with democracy plea
President Clinton last-minute shopping in Hong Kong
The president left for Washington on Friday after spending the final day of his trip in Hong Kong. Before leaving he emphasised the overall achievements of his visit to mainland China. He also reiterated that he viewed democracy as the path to prosperity for Asia.
In comments to an audience of business leaders in Hong Kong his main theme was democracy, which he called the path to wealth and stability, and not as some governments feared, a potential danger.
Stuck in a lift
The presidential couple had a brief scare on their last day in Hong Kong. A bolt of lightning caused a computer failure which resulted in Bill and Hillary Clinton being stuck in a lift for ten minutes.
A presidential spokesman said that, by the time the doors were prised open, the Clintons and the staff stranded with them were cracking jokes about it.
The issue of human rights in China has been a recurring theme throughout the trip - which was aimed at furthering what the two countries call a new strategic partnership between them.
Nevertheless, both Chinese and American officials have expressed satisfaction with the visit - one of the most controversial overseas tours of his presidency, and the longest to a single country.
Mr Clinton said the record turn-out in Hong Kong's elections last May had been a mandate for a faster pace of democracy, and he looked forward to the day when everyone in Hong Kong had full democratic rights.
Mr Lee thanked Clinton for coming to China and addressing the issues of human rights and democracy.
According to Mr Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, Mr Lee said Hong Kong's first year under Chinese rule had gone well but that the pace of democratic reforms should be accelerated.
Mr Clinton said: "The United States considers Hong Kong vital not only to the future of China and Asia but to the United States and the world as well. Our ties must grow stronger and they will.
"This present financial crisis too will pass if we work together with discipline and vision to lift the fortunes of our neighbours."
He said his meetings with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Chinese students had convinced him that it was possible to build a "more stable, more prosperous and free" future.
Mr Clinton became the first US president to visit Hong Kong when he arrived there on Thursday.
His party were also the first foreigners to touch down at Hong Kong's new Chek Lap Kok airport, just hours after it was officially opened by Chinese president Jiang Zemin.
The airport is the largest civil engineering project in the world, and took six years to build. Its construction necessitated the levelling and enlargement of an island off the Hong Kong coast.