Brennan: Obama will find ‘appropriate balance’ in dispute over Chinese activist

President Obama’s top counter-terrorism advisor said the commander-in-chief is working to balance his support for an escaped Chinese dissident who was under house arrest and the need to maintain good U.S.-China relations.

Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan refused to say whether the U.S. was providing protection to Chen Guangcheng, a well-known Chinese activist, who reportedly evaded security guards watching over his house and fled hundreds of miles to Beijing. News outlets are reporting that Chen sought refuge at the American Embassy there.

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“I'm not going to address the issue of Mr. Chen right now,” said Brennan on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. “We are working very closely with the individuals involved in this. And so, I am going to leave it to others who have responsibility for it.”

Brennan said he was “confident” that Obama would take the appropriate steps to maintain a balance between respecting China’s authority and providing U.S. support for Chen, who has been outspoken about Chinese population control tactics, such as forced abortions.

“I think, in all instances, the president tries to balance our commitment to human rights, making sure that the people throughout the world have the ability to express themselves freely and openly,” said Brennan. “But also, that we continue to carry out our relationships with key countries overseas. And China-U.S. relations are important. So, we're going to make sure that we do this in the appropriate way and that appropriate balance is struck.



Wallace pressed Brennan on whether Obama would give up Chen to satisfy the Chinese government or whether the U.S. was planning to protect Chen at all costs.


Brennan refused to weigh-in.

“The president will do whatever he thinks is in the best interest of the United States, as well as the individuals involved,” said Brennan.