SECRETARY of State Madeleine Albright is to visit Beijing next month to smooth the way for Premier Zhu Rongji's long-awaited trip to the United States in April. Ms Albright is scheduled to be in China on March 1 and 2 for what are expected to be tough discussions, Washington sources say. Her visit will have two central goals - to try to open the door to successful negotiations on Beijing's long-delayed entry to the World Trade Organisation and to defuse an impending row over human rights. If, as is looking increasingly possible, the White House caves in to congressional pressure and revives a motion condemning China at the United Nations Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva, the administration fears the move will overshadow Mr Zhu's visit. The Senate and the House of Representatives are on the verge of introducing resolutions calling on the administration to proceed with a Geneva resolution in the wake of the recent anti-dissident crackdown on the mainland. Ms Albright will either try to convince her Chinese counterparts that urgent human rights concessions are needed to avert the need for a resolution - or more likely, warn them that Congressional pressure is forcing the administration's hand and that such a resolution is inevitable. Assistant Secretary of State Harold Koh has been holding meetings on Capitol Hill to try to explain the administration's reluctance to proceed at Geneva. According to sources, European governments, which joined Washington in dropping a China resolution last year, are reluctant to co-sponsor a motion this year, and are waiting for the US to take the lead. Making things more awkward is the timing of Mr Zhu's visit - tentatively scheduled for April 7 and 8, when the Geneva meetings are in progress. He is expected to visit New York and Washington. 'Because he'll be in the US about the time of Geneva, they'll need to manage the issue so that it doesn't undermine the whole visit,' a source said. US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky may join Ms Albright on the Beijing trip in an effort to break new ground on trade issues ahead of the Zhu talks.