In Beijing, Clinton’s Own Straight Talk Express

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For a diplomatic meet-and-greet, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s weekend visit to Beijing produced a surprising number of developments. They all seemed to fall in the category of things which are known but not usually said, especially by diplomats. As I wrote on Saturday, Clinton signaled ahead of her arrival that she wasn’t going to let human rights, long a bilateral bugaboo, interfere with advancing progress between the U.S. and China on issues like the global economy. On Sunday she encouraged China to continue buying U.S. Treasury bonds. I guess you could argue one naturally follows the other. It’s hard to make a pitch for buying U.S. debt at the same time you’re railing about China’s human rights record. At the same time, it’s not as if China has many other good options for investing that money, so perhaps Clinton didn’t need to make so desperate a pitch. At Daiyutai on Saturday Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Beijing would continue putting its exchange reserves in investments that are safe, liquid and offer good value. He stopped short of saying China will continue buying U.S. Treasuries with the same enthusiasm of the past, but it’s hard to see where else it could go.

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