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 China state media slam Obama over currency remarks

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PostSubject: China state media slam Obama over currency remarks   Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:18 am

Nov 15, 2011 01:53 EST

China state media slam Obama over currency remarks

Chinese state media have accused US President Barack Obama of "scapegoating" Beijing for his country's economic woes after he hit out at China's currency policy.

Obama on Sunday betrayed increasing frustration over Beijing's control of the yuan, saying it has not done enough to allow the unit to reach a fair market level and calling on a now "grown up" China to act more responsibly.

The official Xinhua news agency accused Obama of using the issue to attract votes, and said forcing the yuan to appreciate more quickly would bankrupt Chinese companies without resolving the US trade deficit with China.

"Squeezing China, especially on the yuan, is an old trick in the run-up to (the) US presidential election," it said in a commentary late Monday.

"Such a tactic of scapegoating others may attract some voters' attention, but is definitely no answer to America's real problems."

The state-run Global Times, a daily known for its nationalistic stance, said the United States felt "insecure" in the face of a rising China and Washington would have to accept that its economy was in decline.

"The US intends to solve economic problems by exerting political pressure on China. Such a mission is hollow and ultimately doomed to failure," it said in an editorial Tuesday, accusing the US of "over-confidence".

"Maybe the US should learn to accept the reality of a multi-polar world and change its mentality."

China's foreign ministry refused to be drawn on Obama's comments at a press briefing Tuesday in Beijing, advising journalists to "ask the spokesperson of the White House what is the meaning of the comment made by Obama."

"China attaches great importance to its relations with the United States," added Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin.

"With the deepening of economic globalisation and regional integration in the Asia-Pacific, there is an enormous potential to be tapped into in terms of China-United States cooperation."

US officials have long accused China of keeping its currency artificially low, fuelling a flow of cheap exports that has helped send the US trade deficit with China to more $270 billion in 2010.

The issue has come to the political forefront in recent months, ahead of the US presidential elections in November next year.

Speaking after an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit that witnessed a toughening of the US line towards Beijing, Obama said that while there had been "slight improvement (in the yuan) over the last year", this was not enough.

The US president also called on China to act more responsibly and address trade imbalances.

"Now they've grown up, and so they're going to have to help manage this process in a responsible way," he said.

China defends its exchange rate regime, saying it is moving gradually to make the yuan currency more flexible.

Last month, the US Senate, controlled by Obama's Democratic Party, approved a bill to impose punitive taxes on Chinese imports if the yuan is not revalued, drawing an angry response from Beijing.

Obama, seeking re-election next year as many heartland Americans think they lost their jobs to lower-wage China, told President Hu Jintao at the APEC summit that Americans were "impatient" for a change in Beijing's economic policy.

But Hu said that a big rise in his country's exchange rate would not "solve problems faced by the United States," according to an account of the meeting posted on China's foreign ministry website.

Source: AFP American Edition


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