China will continue its currency reforms and recent yuan gains are not due to Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to Washington, a top Chinese diplomat said on Thursday.

Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said China had constantly advanced exchange rate reforms.

As for reform of the renminbi exchange rate formation mechanism, we have been always advancing reform for all these years, and in the future we will also resolutely and unwaveringly advance such reforms, he told a news conference.

But if one believed that because of a high-level visit we would make a move on the exchange rate, that would truly amount to currency manipulation, Cui said, when asked whether Xi has anything new to say on the yuan during his visit.

The yuan hovered near 6.2970 per dollar on Thursday, a day after it broke the 6.30 level.

The tightly held yuan has gained more than 8 percent since it was depegged from the dollar in June 2010.

The market has widely expected a spate of yuan appreciation in advance of Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to the United States on February 14, but not all traders are ready to declare that significant appreciation is now at hand.

Beijing often allows the yuan to rise before such meetings, a goodwill and diplomatic gesture reflecting the importance of ties between the world's two biggest economies.

Chinese leaders have pledged to introduce more currency flexibility by allowing market forces to play a bigger role in setting the yuan exchange rate ever since the 2005 revaluation.

Xi, considered China's president-in-waiting, will meet President Barack Obama at the White House next Tuesday. The U.S. visit will be a major step in signaling Xi's readiness to take over as China's next top leader and run Beijing's complex and sometimes vexed relationship with Washington.