China’s Wen says US responsible for bad ties

The United States is to blame for strains between Beijing and Washington and should take steps to repair ties, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Sunday, indicating the two powers have not overcome a recent rough patch.

Wen said US actions, including a visit to Washington by exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, and arms sales to Taiwan, violated China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

‘Serious disruption’
“The responsibility for the serious disruption in US-China ties does not lie with the Chinese side but with the US,” Wen said in response to a question at a news conference marking the end of China’s annual parliamentary meeting.

China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, to be united by force if necessary, and accuses the Dalai Lama of separatism. Beijing and Washington have also tussled recently over trade and currency policy and Chinese internet controls.

Wen did not directly answer questions about search engine giant Google, which has threatened to pull out of China following a hacking attack if it cannot offer an uncensored Chinese-language search engine.

Setting tone for policy
He also did not directly answer questions about mining giant Rio Tinto, four of whose employees face trial in Shanghai on charges of accepting bribes.

The Chinese government leader’s annual post-Parliament news conference is a high-profile opportunity for Beijing to set the tone for policy.

Wen pressed for developed countries to relax controls on high-tech exports to China, and defended the yuan’s de facto peg to the US dollar as contributing to global stability.

Obama this week pressed China to move to a “more market-oriented exchange rate”, as his administration faces a decision over whether to label China a “currency manipulator” in a semi-annual Treasury Department report due on April 15.

Wen said such pressure was counter-productive.

US manufacturing groups and trade unions say the Chinese yuan is badly undervalued, putting the United States and other economies at an unfair competitive disadvantage against cheap Chinese-made goods.

The ruling Chinese Communist Party’s controls on dissent and political criticism have also long been a sore point. In its annual survey of human rights in 194 countries, the US State Department this week said China had intensified its efforts to suppress information on the internet.

Beijing has not yet acted on its threat to sanction US companies involved in the arms sales to Taiwan. – Reuters

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