Chinese leader vows open trade, stable currency
YOKOHAMA, Japan – Chinese President Hu Jintao said Saturday that his country will keep its markets open and seek more balanced trade, while gradually adjusting the value of its currency.
"The international community should oppose protectionism in all manifestations," Hu told a conference on the sidelines of the annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
Hu avoided any overt references to the frictions, diplomatic and economic, with the U.S. and Japan that cast a pall over the recent meeting of Group of 20 major economies.
He did say, however, that Beijing would seek a better balance in its trade and carry on with "stable and gradual" adjustments in the value of its currency, reiterating his country's usual response to complaints by the U.S. and some other trading partners that the yuan is undervalued, contributing to huge trade imbalances.
Disagreements over the currency issue hindered efforts by the G-20 members to reach agreement on a common strategy to restructure the global economy during the summit that ended Friday in Seoul. Some member countries balked at endorsing President Barack Obama's outright call for Beijing to move faster in its currency adjustments.
Relations between China and its neighbors also have been strained by conflicting territorial claims and by Beijing's increasingly assertive stance on a range of issues.
Deep-rooted tensions with Japan over islands in the East China Sea claimed by both sides flared recently after a Chinese trawler collided with two Japanese coast guard vessels near disputed islands east of Taiwan.
Alluding, perhaps, to the demands for quicker liberalization of its currency controls and other financial restrictions, Hu said that like other emerging markets that have helped power the rebound from the world financial crisis, China faces many challenges and has far to go to achieve its own modernization.
The responsibilities required of emerging economies should be "commensurate with their development stage," he said.
"The Asian-Pacific emerging markets are still at the primary stage of development and their abilities and resources are limited," he said. "Asking them to take on responsibility beyond their capabilities ... will do no good."
Still, he pledged that Beijing will "participate in international rules making in a responsible way."
China will stick to its policy of peaceful development while bringing in the resources it needs to further grow its economy, which has become the world's second-largest.
"We will continue to bring in investment and talent from overseas to support our modernization effort," he said. "We will continue to build an open and transparent market environment."
Hu said China also will persist in seeking more balanced, sustainable development both to help ensure a better livelihood for all its citizens and to better cope with the challenges of climate change.
"A more developed China will bring more opportunities and make greater contributions to the world," he said.