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Christopher's Asia trip opens on sour note

The United States is gratified by China's release of a prominent dissident but Secretary of State Warren Christopher will press for "explanations of the troubling events" that led to Wei Jingsheng's arrest, a spokesman said Saturday.

A Chinese government crackdown on dissidents set a sour tone for the opening of Christopher's Asia trip and dampened prospects that his stop in Beijing will result in a breakthrough on human rights.

On the first leg of his journey, the secretary of state called the Chinese action "unhelpful in creating what I would regard as a positive atmosphere for my visit."

Wei, the most prominent of several dissidents detained, telephoned a friend Saturday to say he had been released.

"Naturally, we are gratified that Wei Jingsheng is no longer subject to an objectionable and unjust detention," State Department spokesman Mike McCurry said. "We will continue to press .


. for explanations of the troubling events of the past several days and for the release of others that have been detained."

Christopher spent Saturday in Hawaii, touring the government laboratory where forensic investigators try to determine whether human remains recovered in Southeast Asia are those of missing U.S. servicemen.

Christopher plans stops in Australia, Japan and China.