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14december20098US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday outlined a pragmatic stance toward human rights for ethnic minorities in Tibet, eastern Turkestan (Xinjiang), China and Russia, countries she calls key to boosting the world economy and strengthening non-proliferation efforts.

She insisted that the administration would seek to protect ethnic minorities in Tibet and China's Xinjiang province, as well as all people who signed Charter 08, a manifesto that calls for democratic reform in China.

"Principled pragmatism informs our approach on human rights-informs our approach with all countries, but particularly with key countries like China and Russia," she explained in a speech on the Obama administration's human rights agenda.

Mrs. Clinton continued, "Cooperation with each of those [countries] is critical to the health of the global economy and the non-proliferation agenda we seek, and also to managing security issues like North Korea and Iran, and addressing global problems like climate change."

"The United States seeks positive relationships with China and Russia," proclaimed the chief US diplomat, adding that Washington will engage in "candid discussions" with both of these countries.

"In China, we call for protection of rights of minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang," she said.

She added that the United States will also push for the right of Chinese citizens to "express oneself and worship freely", as well as for civil society and religious groups to advance their causes within a legal framework.

"With Russia, we deplore the murders of journalists and activists, and support the courageous individuals who advocate at great peril for democracy," Clinton stated.

She expressed the US desire to cooperate with both governments and human rights activists in these countries, stating that, "With China, Russia, and others, we are engaging on issues of mutual interest while also engaging societal actors in these same countries who are working to advance human rights and democracy."

"The assumption that we must either pursue human rights or our 'national interests' is wrong. The assumption that only coercion and isolation are effective tools for advancing democratic change is also wrong," declared Clinton.

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