China will maintain a basically stable yuan at a reasonable and balanced level, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in a reiteration of the country's long-standing description of its exchange rate policy.

Wen was speaking to a gathering of Chinese diplomats in Beijing. He also said that China would continue to reform its exchange rate formation mechanism.

The yuan has been virtually pegged to the dollar over the past year as a defence against the financial crisis, but some analysts think that Beijing will resume gradual appreciation next year as the Chinese economy strengthens.

(Reporting by Zhou Xin and Simon Rabinovitch)