Bush: China a great nation growing like mad
US President George W. Bush urged once again for China to float its currency so as to protect American producers, and linking China’s galloping economy with the rising gasoline prices in the United States.
“My view of China is that it's a great nation that's growing like mad. That's one of the reasons why Americans are seeing over US$2 gallon, because demand for energy in China is huge,” Bush said.
During an appearance before the American Society of Newspaper Editors on Thursday, Bush said China ought to "float her currency so we can have free and fair trade with China."
US Commerce Department statistics estimated its trade deficit with China at $13.9 billion in the first three months this year, and the United States complain the yuan's value makes Chinese exports inexpensive. But, Chinese trade observers say that cheap imports from China has helped easing the rising inflationary pressure in the United States.
The yuan has been pegged at 8.27 to the dollar since the Asian financial crisis in late 1990s.. Chinese then Premier Zhu Rongji’s decision to hold the yuan value intact, while other Asian currencies tumbled, has been hailed as a cornerstone preventing a total collapse of all Asian economies.
China has promised to move gradually to a flexible currency, but stressed that conditions such as the need for a healthy financial system and regional economic stability have to be guaranteed before it can do so.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said last month in Beijing that all concerned parties should take the aftermath of a valued yuan into serious consideration, not only relating to China’s economy but also other major economies. He also hinted that Chinese Government might up the yuan value “at an unexpected time”.
Bush also said China's growing economy was partly to blame for rising US gasoline prices.
"My view of China is that it's a great nation that's growing like mad. That's one of the reasons why Americans are seeing over US$2 gasoline, because demand for energy in China is huge. And supply around the world hasn't kept up with the increase in demand," he said.
Bush described U.S. ties with China as a "very complex and good relationship" and said he intended to keep it that way, but said Beijing should welcome religious movements, for example.
"I'm constantly reminding China that a great society is one that welcomes and honors human rights, for example, welcomes the Catholic Church in its midst, doesn't fear religious movements," he said.
"We expect there to be peace with Taiwan," Bush said.