Top news: One day after U.S. President Barack Obama promised to "get much tougher about enforcing existing rules" on trade with China and said he would pressure Beijing to let the Yuan appreciate, the Chinese government has hit back. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said that the Yuan -- currently pegged at about $6.83 per dollar -- is at a reasonable level and is not the cause of the trade imbalance between China and the United States.
"We hope the American side sees the problems within the China-US trade co-operation objectively and reasonably and continues to negotiate on an equal basis," Ma said. "Accusations and pressure do not help to solve the problem."
Obama made his comments at a meeting with Democratic lawmakers and added that while all countries must abide by existing trade rules, it would be a mistake to resort to protectionism. "What I don't want to do is for us as a country or as a party, to shy away from the prospects of international competition," he said.
The United States has had little success in the past in pressuring China to revalue its currency. The markets seemed bearish on Obama's latest push as well with one-year dollar/yuan non-deliverable forwards implying just a 2.8 percent rise in the yuan over the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, China has also escalated a trade fight with the European Union, filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization about anti-dumping duties imposed on Chinese-made shoes.
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Asia and Pacific
- India has reportedly offered to resume official bilateral talks with Pakistan.
- North Korea has reportedly eased its restrictions on private markets.
- Australia blocked three shipments of unidentified cargo to Iran, invoking a little-used weapons of mass destruction law.
- Israel's foreign minister warned Syria that it would lose if the two goes went to war again.
- A leading Iranian human rights activist and journalist was arrested on Wednesday.
- An Iraqi appeals court overturned a controversial ban on hundreds of election candidate who had ties to the Baath party.
- The U.S. baptists accused of child trafficking in Haiti will appear before a prosecutor today.
- The U.S. has opened two new centers to treat evacuated earthquake victims in Tampa and Atlanta.
- The Mexican military arrested 10 people in connection with three headless bodies found near Ciudad Juarez.
- The Swiss government has approved the resettlement of two Uighur prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.
- Greek officials have begun a strike against wage cuts.
- More than half the members of Britain's House of Commons have been asked to pay back government funds used to make frivolous purchases.
- Somali pirates hijacked a Libyan-owned merchant ship and a North Korean cargo ship.
- Medecins Sans Frontieres has accused both sides in Somalia's violence of indiscriminately shelling civilians.
- A Nigerian cabinet minister has called on President Umaru Yar'Adua to step down.
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