By Mike Lillis
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday urged Chinese President Hu Jintao to bolster his commitment to human rights and climate-change prevention, the California Democrat said after a meeting with him Thursday.
"I had the opportunity to relay the concerns by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle that Chinese human-rights activist Liu Xiaobo was not permitted to travel to Norway to accept the Nobel Peace Prize in December, and about the continued detention of Liu and his wife Liu Xia, for peacefully exercising their rights to free expression," Pelosi said after their closed-door session at the Capitol.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) also attended the meeting.
Pelosi said she also nudged Hu on China's efforts to slow climate change, adding she was "pleased" when Hu "agreed that this is an area where we can work to build a stronger relationship between our two nations."
Pelosi's comments come a week after one of the world's largest banks, HSBC, said the United States is the only real global outlier on bolstering climate change-related investments. Even China, the bank said in a message to investors, is taking greater strides.
“[K]ey emerging markets, notably China and India, are poised to lay out their plans for achieving low-carbon growth this year: the highlight for low-carbon growth investors will certainly be the finalisation of China’s next five-year plan in March,” the investment note says.
House Democrats approved a climate change bill in 2009, but it was never taken up in the Senate.
Thursday's meeting with Hu also featured discussions on trade relations, North Korea and religious rights in Tibet, Pelosi said.
Pelosi warned Chinese leaders Wednesday that a good trade relationship with the United States would hinge on China's willingness to "play by the rules" — a reference to China's policies on currency manipulation and copyright piracy that have long been criticized by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement after meeting with Hu that it had been a "productive" session that touched on topics including human rights, renewable energy, Iran, North Korea and U.S.-China military relations.
"Although we have our differences," he said, "we look forward to strengthening our relationship in a way that allows us to address global economic and security issues.”