China's Foreign Ministry urged U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday not to resort to excuses for trade protectionism after the U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid pushed for legislation aimed at forcing China to loosen controls on its currency.

I want to stress that protecting the stable and healthy development of Sino-U.S. economic and trade relations is in keeping with the interests of both sides, Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular news briefing.

Reid's renewed drive for a yuan currency bill reflects the belief of many lawmakers that the United States' huge trade deficit with China, which hit a record $273 billion in 2010, reflects Beijing's currency exchange policies, which keep the yuan from rising in value against the dollar.