By Amie Parnes and Julian Pecquet - 05/03/12 08:09 PM EDT
Carney refused to answer questions about whether the White House would support asylum for Chen, repeatedly referring those questions to the State Department.
"He has and will continue to make a priority in that relationship or part of that relationship, an open and frank discussion of our concern about human rights, and that's his focus. It's absolutely in our national interests for us to pursue that kind of broad-based agenda with the Chinese," Carney added.
He also insisted that Chen never requested political asylum while in the U.S. embassy and that U.S. officials did not pressure him to remain in China. On Thursday, days after Chen sought refuge at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, a State Department deal that would have allowed the dissident to remain in China fell apart, creating a diplomatic nightmare for the administration.
For more on Carney's remarks, click here.