Summers In China: Currency Pressure Rejected By Chinese

09/07/2010 06:20 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

BEIJING — China rejected pressure over currency Tuesday amid a visit by two high-level U.S. envoys, saying Beijing will set the pace of exchange rate reforms.

Currency has re-emerged as an irritant in U.S.-Chinese relations as American leaders face pressure to create jobs ahead of November elections. Lawmakers who want possible trade sanctions on China set aside complaints as the two governments worked together to end the global crisis but are renewing their demands.

"Exchange rate reform can't be pressed ahead under external pressure," said Jiang Yu, a foreign ministry spokesman.

The issue is expected to be on the agenda for talks between Chinese officials and the visiting director of the U.S. National Economic Council, Lawrence Summers, and Deputy National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon.

Critics say Beijing keeps its yuan undervalued, giving its exporters an unfair price advantage and adding to its huge trade surplus.

Beijing broke an 18-month-old link between the yuan and the dollar in June and said it would allow a more flexible exchange rate. But the currency has risen by only about 1 percent since then, which has fueled demands by some American lawmakers for China to act faster or face trade sanctions.

Jiang said Beijing would press ahead with reforms and allow "dynamic management" of the exchange rate but gave no timetable.

Also Tuesday, a Cabinet official told Summers and Donilon that Beijing wanted improved cooperation with Washington and less public criticism.

"Quiet and in-depth dialogue is better than loud haranguing," said State Councilor Dai Bingguo.