China appears to be softening its stance on new rules which ban foreign news agencies from dealing directly with local clients, Tom Glocer, chief executive of Reuters, told the Financial Times. In his first public comments on the issue, Glocer made clear that Reuters did not accept demands from sector regulator Xinhua news agency that it deal with local clients only through a Xinhua appointed agent, calling the rules a "substantial threat". However, Glocer told the newspaper he was reassured by public pledges from Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and other senior officials that the rules were not intended to change the way foreign media worked in the country. "I was more worried about the situation when I first saw the raw regulations when they were promulgated," he said. "It already appears that, from Mr Wen Jiabao down, there is an element of softening . . . . . and somewhere in that softening is undoubtedly a sensible way forward." Senior government officials in the US, Europe and Japan were "coming together strongly" against the new rules, and international news agencies were largely united in their opposition, Glocer said.