China Cautions the U.S. at Davos
Everyone in the Congress Hall at the World Economic Forum held their breath when WEF President Klaus Schwab asked Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao if he had a message for the new American leadership.
After all, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner had declared that the Obama administration considers China to be a currency manipulator in his confirmation hearing last week.
Wen's answer at Davos was both optimistic and cautionary.
"Shortly after President Barack Obama was elected," he said, "we sent him a message of congratulations and expressed interest in having many contacts with the new administration.
"What has happened in the past three decades is ... a peaceful relationship will make both winners while a confrontational one will make both losers. To maintain continuous steady and healthy growth of China-U.S. relations is not only in the interest of these two countries but the whole world.
"In meeting the international financial crisis," Wen concluded, "it is important that the two countries enhance cooperation. That is my message."
To put his remarks in context, Wen had just spent a half an hour arguing that China's economy was still expanding and he'd rattled off a string of figures to back up his assertion that it could keep growing at a rate of 8 percent in 2009. Foreign economists forecast something closer to half that pace.
by Alexandra Wolfe
Photograph of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao speaking in Davos by Christof Sonderegger/©World Economic ForumRelated LinksObama Snubs DavosGeithner on China's Currency ManipulationChina: Party's Over