US President Barack Obama has applauded Nobel Committee's decision to honour jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo with the 2010 Peace Prize and asked Beijing to release the "courageous" human rights activist as soon as possible.
"By granting the prize to Liu, the Nobel Committee has chosen someone who has been an eloquent and courageous spokesman for the advance of universal values through peaceful and non-violent means, including his support for democracy, human rights and the rule of law," Obama said in a statement last night.
"This award reminds us that political reform has not kept pace, and that the basic human rights of every man, woman and child must be respected. We call on the Chinese government to release Liu as soon as possible," Obama said.
Welcoming the Nobel Committee's decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu, Obama, who was the recipient of the coveted prize in 2009, said: "Last year, I noted that so many others who have received the award had sacrificed so much more than I. That list now includes Mr Liu, who has sacrificed his freedom for his beliefs."
"As I said last year in Oslo, even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America will always be a voice for those aspirations that are universal to all human beings," the US President said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also welcomed the decision of the Nobel Committee to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu.
Throughout its history, the Peace Prize has often been used to recognise the heroism of those who have, through persistent and peaceful efforts, sought to build a world that is more fair and free, she said in a statement.
"Mr Liu has been a consistent advocate for fundamental freedoms and human rights for his fellow citizens and for peaceful political reform.
"Mr Liu's work, including his role in the drafting of Charter '08 (which called for greater freedom and an end to the Communist Party's political dominance), and his receipt of this honour highlight the fact that while China has made tremendous economic progress in the last three decades, political reform has lagged behind," Clinton said.