Fri, Mar 26, 2010 - Page 4 News List

PRC says willing to boost US contacts

AFP , BEIJING

China said yesterday it was willing to boost contacts with the US to resolve a host of issues that are dogging ties, including a long-standing dispute over the value of the Chinese yuan.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner — under pressure from US lawmakers to label China a currency manipulator in a report due next month — said on Wednesday it was “very important” for Beijing to make its currency flexible.

But Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan (鍾山) dismissed demands for change, saying the revaluation of the yuan was “not a good recipe for solving problems.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang (秦剛) refused to be drawn on the issue of the yuan in particular, but admitted there were “frictions and issues facing China-US economic and trade cooperation.”

“We are willing to strengthen communication with the US,” Qin said, noting that “dialogue and consultations on an equal footing” are the best way to resolve bilateral tensions.”

The yuan is just one of the issues that have strained US-China relations in recent months. The two countries are also divided over US arms sales to Taiwan, Tibet, trade and Internet freedom.

Beijing has effectively pegged the yuan to the dollar since mid-2008, which critics say keeps the currency artificially low, making China’s exports more competitive.

China has repeatedly defended its exchange rate policy as necessary for the survival of Chinese manufacturers and supporting jobs growth in the economy.

Qin noted that Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai (崔天凱) was currently in Washington for talks, along with Zhong, the vice commerce minister.

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