China, US discuss military, currency and the Dalai Lama

United States (US) President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that China’s yuan currency remained undervalued and further adjustment was necessary, although he welcomed moves by Beijing to let it appreciate more.

“I told president Hu [Jintao] we welcome China’s increasing flexibility on the currency,” Obama said at a joint White House press conference, adding that the yuan “remains undervalued and there needs to be further adjustment”.

“We’ll continue to look for the value of China’s currency to be increasingly driven by the market to ensure no nation has an undue economic advantage,” Obama added.

The US has long complained that the yuan is artificially undervalued to boost Chinese exports, at the cost of American growth and jobs.

China’s central bank pledged earlier this month to increase the flexibility of its yuan exchange rate, ahead of Hu’s state visit to the United States.

‘Deepening mutual trust’
Hu called on Wednesday for greater cooperation between the Chinese and US militaries to build trust.

“The two sides believe that the expansion of exchanges and cooperation between our militaries contributes to deepening mutual trust between our countries and the growth of our overall relationship,” Hu told a joint news conference with Obama.

Military relations have been at the heart of tensions between the two nations, with the US repeatedly urging China to be more transparent about its growing defence spending.

Obama also called on Beijing to engage in dialogue with the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader.

“As the United States recognises Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China, the United States suggests dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama to resolve differences in preserving the religious identity of the Tibetan people,” Obama said.

China has engaged in talks with the Dalai Lama, who fled his Chinese-ruled homeland in 1959, but the talks have been viewed with skepticism in the West. — AFP

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