The Obama administration has not decided to delay a report that could brand China a currency manipulator and Chinese President Hu Jintao's upcoming visit does not affect the issue, the White House said on Friday.
The New York Times reported the administration would defer a decision on whether to name China a currency manipulator until well after President Hu Jintao visits Washington for a nuclear proliferation summit.
The newspaper, citing an administration official, said the decision reflected a judgment that threatening China was not the most effective way to persuade Beijing to allow the yuan to appreciate against the U.S. dollar.
A U.S. Treasury report that would have published the decision on whether to brand China a currency manipulator had been scheduled for release on April 15.
There have not been any formal decisions made on reports, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters when asked about a delay.
You've heard the president say both publicly as well as to ... Chinese leaders that their currency has to be market-based, Gibbs said.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he wanted to maximize the odds that China would lift the value of its yuan currency quickly, but did not respond to a direct answer when asked if the currency report would be delayed.
It's very important that China move, Geithner told Bloomberg Television.
I'm quite confident that they will decide it's in their interest to move. We're going to try to make sure we're going to maximize the chance that they move quickly, he said.
China said on Thursday that Hu would attend a summit on nuclear security days before the Treasury decision was expected, and diplomats said Beijing had agreed to join in talks with Western powers about a fresh round of U.N. sanctions against Iran.
Those moves indicated an easing of tensions between the two world powers after a rocky period which saw disputes over China's Internet controls, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, and President Barack Obama's meeting with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
Gibbs said Hu's presence at the summit, which the White House has welcomed, had no bearing on the currency decision.
We are obviously quite pleased that ... he is attending something that the president believes is so vitally important to our national security and to international security, he said.
Obama and Hu spoke for about an hour late on Thursday.
(additional reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Sandra Maler and Alan Elsner)