China open to U.S. religious envoy visit: White House

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 16, 2012 2:58 AM
China open to U.S. religious envoy visit: White House

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Chinese officials have told the White House they are working on dates for a U.S. envoy for religious freedoms to visit China, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Wednesday.

The Washington Post reported that Suzan Johnson Cook, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, was denied a visa to visit China earlier this month.

Carney told reporters in Los Angeles, where President Barack Obama is attending fundraiser events, that the White House raised the issue during a visit by China's leader-in-waiting, Xi Jinping, to the United States and stressed the importance of ensuring that Cook's intended trip takes place.

"The Chinese noted that Ambassador Cook's predecessors, as well as the Assistant Secretary for Human Rights, have visited China on numerous occasions for discussion on religious freedom and related issues, and they are working on dates for Ambassador Cook's future visit," Carney said.

(Reporting By Laura MacInnis; Editing by Philip Barbara)