May 3rd, 2012
04:46 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The “mission impossible” style case of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng is yet another wrinkle in a complicated relationship between the U.S. and China.
While issues of trade and differences on Syria are being debated, human rights is becoming the flashpoint.
White House spokesman Jay Carney sidestepped most questions on Chen’s case, like whether the administration supported asylum for the activist. Instead he directed reporters to the State Department for more details.
But pushed to answer concerns about Chen’s change of heart and his desire to leave the country, Carney defended the U.S. handling of the case.
“At no point during his time in the embassy did Mr. Chen ever request political asylum in the U.S. And at every opportunity he expressed his desire to stay in China, reunify with this family, continue his education and work for reform in his country,” Carney said. “All of our diplomacy was directed at putting him in the best possible position to achieve his objectives.”
Carney downplayed any long term fallout from this incident citing a multifaceted relationship that is built on economic, trade, security and regional concerns.