- The Washington Times - Friday, April 1, 2016

President Obama broached human rights and cyber espionage in his final meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the White House said Friday.

“The president reiterated America’s unwavering support for upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms in China,” the White House said in a statement about the meeting, which took place Thursday afternoon on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in Washington.

Administration critics had been urging Mr. Obama to get tougher with China on human rights. Rep. Chris Smith, New Jersey Republican and a leading voice on Capitol Hill on human rights issues, said this week that Mr. Obama has failed to use either the power of the presidency or his status as the 2009 Nobel honor to push back against the communist Chinese regime, which holds some 1,500 political prisoners.

The three-paragraph White House statement devoted one sentence to human rights. On cybersecurity, the White House said Mr. Obama reiterated that the U.S. “will continue to monitor whether Chinese actions demonstrate their adherence to the commitments” that the leaders made last year to stop cyber-hacking.

On conflicts in the South China Sea, Mr. Obama urged China “to address differences with its neighbors on maritime issues peacefully and in accordance with international law and emphasized the United States global interest in upholding freedom of navigation and overflight.”

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