BEIJING — In her first public comments on the dissident Chen Guangcheng since arriving in China, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Friday that she was encouraged by “progress” in a diplomatic crisis that has deeply embarrassed the White House and threatens to sour relations with Beijing, but that more work needed to be done.
Speaking at a news conference at the end of two days of economic and security talks that have been overshadowed by Mr. Chen’s case, Mrs. Clinton said she was encouraged by a statement earlier on Friday from China’s Foreign Ministry that said Mr. Chen could apply to study outside China. The proposal appeared to offer the possibility of a breakthrough in the crisis.
Mrs. Clinton said that progress had been made “to help him have the future that he wants” and referred to the ministry’s statement as well as a visit by American Embassy staff and an American doctor to Mr. Chen in a Beijing hospital on Friday, the first time they were able to see him in person since late Wednesday.
“But there is more work to do, so we will stay engaged as this moves forward,” she said.