US, China pledge to jointly tackle global crisis

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The United States and China pledged Friday to work together to tackle global financial turmoil as they wrapped up economic talks but left open whether the high-level dialogue will continue under President-elect Barack Obama.

Ending the fifth meeting of the two-year-old Strategic Economic Dialogue, the two sides promised $20 billion to finance imports by developing countries and cooperation on regulating financial risks. Beijing said it would let local subsidiaries of foreign banks trade stocks in its market and Washington promised to speed up licensing of Chinese banks.

"China and the United States make clear their steadfast determination to jointly face the international financial crisis," the chief Chinese envoy, Vice Premier Wang Qishan, said at a closing ceremony, flanked by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

The two days of talks were marked by a pointed Chinese appeal to Washington to stabilize its economy and rein in debt-fueled spending that Beijing's central bank chief said Thursday was to blame for the financial crisis. The appeal reflected Beijing's growing assertiveness and its close links with the United States, where it is a major investor in U.S. Treasury debt that finances the government budget deficit.

A key issue for Washington is China's currency controls, and U.S. officials said Beijing promised to continue reforms that have let its yuan rise against the dollar. Washington and other trading partners say the yuan is kept undervalued, giving China's exporters an unfair price advantage and adding to its trade surplus.

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