The leaders of China and the United States appeared to have played out an honourable draw during Saturday's summit, according to observers in the US. Although the summit deals and rhetoric have done nothing to dampen the criticism of members of Congress, America's media and foreign policy experts gave generally good marks to President Clinton's public comments on human rights and his deft handling of his hosts. And Beijing's decision to air the presidential press conference live and unedited on national television drew perhaps the most excited response from a US media which is otherwise covering the events with a largely sceptical eye. Television coverage of the summit did not dwell on the minutiae of the agreements, focusing only on the nuclear missile de-targeting deal - which could clearly go some way to dispelling US sentiment that China is a potentially dangerous adversary. The other major focus of Americans has been whether Mr Clinton would have the courage to make critical remarks about human rights and the 1989 bloodshed. It is a test which he seems to have passed. 'President Clinton is in a very difficult, delicate position,' said Jan Berris, vice-president of the National Committee on US-China Relations. 'It was the most significant day of his trip, and I think he handled it very well. He walked a very fine line between being a good guest, yet hitting hard and being very tough on the issue he feels strongly about, and certainly his critics feel very strongly about.' David Shambaugh, Professor of China Studies at George Washington University, said: 'President Clinton was very outspoken and, given the context, more so than any other foreign leader I can think of in China. But he did it in a statesmanlike way. 'He might have satisfied his domestic critics.' Professor Shambaugh also said the de-targeting agreement was important, despite its largely symbolic nature. 'I think it's a very symbolic and significant message that this is a non-adversarial relationship. It's really very crucial.' But he said there were also a number of surprises - virtually all to America's benefit. Firstly, China appeared to have caved in on demands Washington renounce its nuclear first-use option in return for the de-targeting agreement; secondly, there was no sign of the expected decision by the US to drop remaining financial sanctions left over from 1989; and, lastly, Mr Clinton did not give his hosts written assurances on arms sales to Taiwan. Unfortunately for Mr Clinton, the favour was returned as he was forcefully denied something his domestic critics had demanded - Beijing's agreement to reopen talks with the Dalai Lama. US officials say a major objective of the trip is to provide Americans with greater insight into the new, modern China. Low weekend TV news viewership will not have helped, but the picture will become clearer when the nation tunes in this week to images of Mr Clinton in Shanghai and Guilin. However, a positive view of China is being undermined by media coverage of security clampdowns - including CNN's report that its correspondent, Rebecca McKinnon, and a camera crew were detained after interviewing Chinese people on the street. Initial reaction from members of Congress indicated China will continue to be a hot issue. Senator Fred Thompson, who chaired the investigation into allegations of Chinese and Asian interference in the 1996 elections, said yesterday: 'Our long term security interests cannot be made dependent upon the goodwill or good behaviour of the Chinese government in the future, when it is even more powerful. 'Their future intent is something we cannot control, regardless of our hopes and wishes.' But he added: 'Nevertheless . . . while he is in that country we should put our differences on hold until his return and hope that his trip is a success.'