BEIJING (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday the United States and China could help the world recover from economic crisis by working together, adding Washington appreciated Beijing's confidence in U.S. government debt.
Clinton, speaking during a trip to China, also said she hoped a G20 summit in London in April would yield agreement on cross border capital flows.
China, with foreign exchange reserves of about $2 trillion, is the world's largest holder of U.S. government debt.
I appreciate greatly the Chinese government's continuing confidence in United States Treasuries. I think that's a well grounded confidence, Clinton said at a news conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.
We have every reason to believe that the United States and China will recover and that together we will help to lead the world recovery.
Clinton's visit to China is the fourth and final leg of a tour of Asia that has also taken her to South Korea, Indonesia and Japan. It is her first trip abroad as secretary of state.
Speaking earlier, Clinton said the United States and China had to also work together in dealing with climate change as well as security threats posed by North Korea.
China invests the bulk of its reserves in liquid debt, notably U.S. Treasury bonds, and Beijing is wary of taking excessive risks after suffering heavy book losses on stakes in financial firms such as Blackstone and Morgan Stanley.
It is true that China has used some of its foreign exchange reserves to buy the U.S. treasury bonds. In making use of our foreign exchange reserves, we want to ensure the safety of the reserves, the good value of them and also the liquidity of the forex reserves, Yang said.
We will make further determinations about the ways and means we will use ... our foreign exchange reserves in accordance with the principles that I have just laid out, Yang said.
Beijing criticized U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last month after he said President Barack Obama believed China was manipulating its currency and would push for changes.
Obama has already urged China to continue appreciating the yuan, which the United States sees as undervalued. China has halted the appreciation in recent months, at a time when its export sector is suffering from the global downturn.
On Friday, Clinton said Washington would press China on human rights but added that this would not keep them from working together on a range of issues such as the financial crisis.
The United States has long accused China of human rights abuses and pressed Beijing to grant greater autonomy to Tibet.
In a 1995 speech in Beijing, Clinton openly criticized China's human rights record.
The online edition of Xinhua news agency quoted Yang as saying China was willing to conduct positive dialogue on human rights issues with the U.S. side.
China and the United States should and can establish long-term, stable and healthily develop bilateral relations, Yang added.
Clinton will also meet President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao on Saturday.
(Additional reporting by Benjamin Kang Lim; Editing by Dean Yates)