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obama-jinpeiDharamshala: - President Barack Obama's administration said Friday that it would raise the grave human rights situation in Tibet during Chinese Vice President visit to the country next week.

China's Vice President Xi Jinping's trip would be for him to understand issues that are important to America, including the situation in Tibet, and freedom of speech and religion, said White House senior director for Asian affairs, Daniel Russel.

"We don't sacrifice the important issues for the sake of having a comfortable visit," Russel told reporters.

"It is an area of grave concern for us to witness the increase of tensions in Tibet and Xinjiang. We are watching this, tracking very closely, with real concern," Mr Daniel Russel, Special Assistant to the US President, told reporters during a conference call.

"The US has spoken out about it, and we use every opportunity to urge the Chinese officials and leaders to exercise real restraint and to safeguard the human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all of Chinese citizens, including in Tibet," he said.

"Part of our goal with respect to this visit is for Vice President Xi to understand the issues that are important to us, and that includes issues like the situation in Tibet, like freedom of speech and freedom of religion and so on," he said in response to a question.

"This is an important part of our agenda and there's no reason that the conversations with Vice President Xi would depart from our longstanding practices," Mr Russel said.

"We routinely, regularly, invariably raise our concerns about the human rights situation in China and about China's adherence to global human rights norms. This is a central part of our agenda," he said.

Also on the agenda: North Korea, Iran and Syria, following China's decision last week to join Russia in vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution pressuring Syrian President Bashar Assad's government over its violent crackdown on opponents.

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