NEW YORK China and the United States will keep developing positive relations no matter who wins November’s U.S. presidential election, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told an economic forum in New York on Tuesday.
Li declined to comment on which candidate he favored. Republican Donald Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on Chinese goods and push for tougher trade talks if elected. His Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, has changed tack on trade, backing away from a Pacific trade pact she previously endorsed.
“No matter who gets elected in the U.S. presidential election, I believe that China-U.S. ties will continue to grow steadily and in a positive direction,” said Li, who is attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Li also pledged that China would not engineer a devaluation of its currency to boost exports for its economy, which is growing at its slowest rate in two decades. Some critics in Washington have charged that Beijing is still manipulating its currency, although the U.S. Treasury says its assessment is that it is not undervalued.
China’s economy will continue its growth momentum this year, Li said.
“I can say here that in the third quarter of this year, or until the end of this year, China’s economy will maintain this momentum of steady growth.”
China’s growth target for this year is 6.5 to 7 percent. In the second quarter of this year, the world’s second-largest economy grew 6.7 percent from a year ago, according to official data.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Writing by David Chance; Editing by Peter Cooney)