China Will Allow US Religious Envoy to Visit

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Chinese officials have told the White House they are working on dates for U.S. religious freedom ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook to visit China, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said this week.

The White House raised the issue during China's Vice President Xi Jinping's trip to the United States. Cook was previously denied a visit to China earlier this month.

"The Chinese noted that ambassador Cook's predecessors, as well as the assistant secretary for human rights, have visited China on numerous occasions for discussion on religious freedom and related issues, and they are working on dates for ambassador Cook's future visit," Carney said Wednesday.

China denied Cook's visa application to visit the People's Republic. She was initially scheduled to travel to China on Feb. 8. But as the date got closer, Chinese leaders refused to let her meet with government officials.

Sources close to Cook say officials of the Obama administration told leaders to avoid talking publicly about the cancelled trip in the days before his visit.

--Originally aired on February 17, 2012.

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