From Jill Dougherty
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated Washington's position on a wide array of subjects during an interview Tuesday with CNN in New Delhi.
Clinton spoke about Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese activist at the center of a recent diplomatic storm between the United States and China.
Chen was sentenced in 2006 to four years and three months in prison for "damaging property and organizing a mob to disturb traffic," charges that his supporters maintain were trumped up by the authorities to punish his legal advocacy for victims of what he called abusive family-planning policies, including forced abortions and sterilization.
Recently, Chen has said he wants to come to the United States. He has been in a hospital bed in Beijing, where he is undergoing medical examinations and treatment after escaping more than 18 months of house arrest in eastern China some two weeks ago.
"We're looking forward to welcoming him to the United States," Clinton said in New Delhi. "We remain in close contact with him. We know that Chinese officials have visited him in the hospital. ... We're doing the same in order to prepare the way so that he can come here and pursue his studies."On India and Iran oil imports:
Clinton applauded India's efforts to reduce its imports of Iranian oil but urged it to cut them further to keep pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program.
"India has reduced its dependence on Iranian oil. I know their refineries have stopped asking for orders to purchase Iranian oil. So they certainly have taken steps," Clinton said. "India shares exactly our goal; their goal is our goal, and that is to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons nation."
The United States and other Western countries are using economic pressure on Iran, particularly on its oil industry, to try to push Tehran into halting its nuclear program. They have encouraged Asian countries such as India, Japan and South Korea - key consumers of Iranian oil - to cut back their purchases.
On France and new president:
Clinton said the United States is eager to talk to French President-elect François Hollande, who beat out incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday.
"There's a lot of anticipation on the part of our government, and I think our nation, because France is our oldest ally we have a deep long and enduring relationship with France," Clinton said. "So until we've had to chance to actually consult and hear his views and have a chance to express our own, we're going to be waiting eagerly to do that."
On Joe Biden's comments about 2016:
Clinton also responded to a question about Vice President Joe Biden's recent comments about teaming up with Clinton for a 2016 presidential run.
Clinton was noncommittal.
"We've been friends for a long time. We're on the same team," Clinton said. "We've been on the same team in the Senate; we're on the same time now with President Obama. No matter what I do in the future I'd love to have Joe be on the team because he is a great and effective person who cares deeply about our country."