Swedish premier says human rights on agenda in China

Other News Materials 10 April 2008 20:07 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt Thursday did not rule out raising the cases of individual political prisoners during his pending visit to China.

Reinfeldt is the first Swedish premier to visit China in 12 years. He was due to leave late Thursday for China and then Japan for talks on energy, climate change and trade.

Human rights are also on the agenda, and the premier has been under pressure from among others the opposition Social Democrats and human rights watchdog Amnesty International to also raise the cases of individual political prisoners during his visit.

Mona Sahlin, leader of the Social Democrats, urged Reinfeldt to raise the cases of four political prisoners.

During question time in parliament Thursday, Reinfeldt said he would "on site" decide whether or not to raise the individual cases, citing the need to have "respect and concern for the people concerned."

Reinfeldt said human rights, the death penalty and the situation in Tibet would feature in his talks with Chinese officials.

His agenda included a meeting with President Hu Jintao, who in June became the first Chinese head of state to visit Sweden, as well as talks with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

Climate issues were of interest against the backdrop of efforts to reach a new global treaty on greenhouse gas reductions next year.

Reinfeldt earlier this week underlined that he opposes a boycott of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.