Clinton wins finance promise from China (Lead)

February 21st, 2009 - 4:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaBeijing, Feb 21 (DPA) Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Saturday promised US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that his government will keep much of its huge foreign currency reserves in US treasury bonds.
Yang also promised Clinton that China would actively cooperate with the US in helping the world to recover from the ongoing financial turmoil.

“Our principle of using reserves is to ensure security and liquidity,” Yang said of China’s estimated $2 trillion worth of net foreign reserves after talks with Clinton.

“We appreciate the efforts of the US government to stimulate the economy and tackle the financial crisis,” he said at a joint press conference.

“Facts proved that both countries have worked very well in dealing with the crisis,” Yang said. “We would like to work more with the United States.”

Clinton said she appreciated China’s “continuing confidence” in US treasury bonds.

“We have every reason to believe that the United States and China will recover and that together we will help to lead the world recovery,” she said.

China is the leading holder of US treasury debt with some $585 billion, according to US data.

Clinton and Yang were also expected to discuss tensions over North Korea, climate change and other international issues.

Clinton said President Barack Obama’s new administration hoped to “deepen and broaden our relationship” with China, while Yang said China wanted “long-term, stable, healthy and progressive relations” with the US.

Clinton was scheduled to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao later Saturday.

Yang confirmed that Hu and Obama planned to meet for the first time since Obama took office during the G20 economic summit in London in April.

In an editorial Friday, the official People’s Daily newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party, praised Clinton for her pragmatic approach.

But rights groups Saturday said they were “shocked” by Clinton apparently giving a low priority to concerns over China’s human rights record.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other groups said they were worried by Clinton’s remarks late Friday in Seoul, where she said the US would still press China on rights issues.

“But our pressing on those issues can’t interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis,” she said.

“Amnesty International is shocked and extremely disappointed by US Secretary Clinton’s comments that human rights will not be a priority in her diplomatic engagement with China,” T. Kumar, Amnesty’s US advocacy director for the Asia-Pacific, said in a statement.

Clinton was also scheduled to visit a Sino-US power plant using “clean coal” technology Saturday, and attend a church service in Beijing Sunday morning.

In Seoul, Clinton called on North Korea to fulfill its nuclear disarmament promises and return to the negotiating table, while warning it against making further threats against South Korea.

“North Korea is not going to get a different relationship with the United States while insulting and refusing dialogue with South Korea,” she said after meeting South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung Hwan.

Yu is scheduled to visit Beijing for talks next week.

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