Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

China backs exchange rate reforms

China's president Hu Jintao has promised more reforms to its controversial exchange rate controls (AP)

China's president Hu Jintao has promised more reforms to its controversial exchange rate controls but gave no timetable.

President Hu Jintao was speaking at the opening of an annual high-level strategic and economic dialogue with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Washington and other governments say that China's yuan is kept undervalued, giving its exporters an unfair price advantage.

"China will continue to steadily advance the reform of the formation of the renminbi exchange rate mechanism under the principle of independent decision-making controllability and gradual progress," Hu said.

Meanwhile, Mrs Clinton urged China to work with the United States to co-ordinate a response to the sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on North Korea.

Opening two days of talks in Beijing, Mrs Clinton said North Korea must be held to account for the incident, which international investigators have determined was caused by a torpedo fired from a North Korean submarine. China is North Korea's main ally and has thus far remained neutral on the investigation.

In Seoul, South Korean president Lee Myung-bak said his country will take the case to the UN Security Council, and US officials say they have more work to do to convince China that North Korea was responsible for the ship sinking.

Mrs Clinton called the situation with North Korea a "matter of urgent concern" and added: "We face another serious challenge provoked by the sinking of the South Korean ship. So we must work together to address this challenge and advance our shared objectives of peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

"We ask North Korea to stop its provocative behavior, halt its policy of threats and belligerence toward its neighbors and take irreversible steps to fulfill its denuclearization commitments and comply with international law."

She also called on China to continue work with the United States and other members of the UN Security Council to draft new sanctions on Iran to press it to come clean on its nuclear program, and said "the burden is on Iran" to prove its nuclear program is peaceful and avert fresh penalties.