US Treasury chief hails Chinese Communist communique

US Treasury chief hails Chinese Communist communique
US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew

BEIJING - US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on Friday praised a Chinese Communist Party announcement on reform intentions, saying it drew up an "ambitious agenda".

China's ruling party concluded a meeting of its Central Committee on Tuesday promising to deepen economic reforms to give markets a "decisive" role in allocating resources, although analysts said the document lacked details and was often contradictory.

Nonetheless Lew said: "The communique outlined an ambitious agenda with a continuing process of market reform in China."

The so-called Third Plenum gathering is closely watched because the party has used previous such meetings to telegraph major reform initiatives.

Lew's comments came in the text of his prepared remarks for a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang on Friday, provided by the Treasury.

The meeting came on the final leg of an Asian tour that has taken the Treasury chief to Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

He was also set to hold talks Friday with other Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping and central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan.

On Tuesday in Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Lew that Japan hopes the United States can resolve what he called "uncertainties" over budget issues.

Abe's comments followed a series of warnings from world leaders about the budget crisis in Washington last month, which stoked a 16-day government shutdown.

A catastrophic debt default was narrowly averted with a temporary truce among warring lawmakers only pushing tough decisions about the country's debt and budget deficit into early next year.

As the biggest foreign holders of US government debt China and Japan have huge stakes in the outcome of the dispute, as any default would threaten the value of their massive investments.

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