China: Protecting domestic economy is top priority
By ANITA CHANG,Associated Press Writer AP - 1 hour 27 minutes ago
BEIJING - China's government said Tuesday that ensuring the country's economic stability is the most important step it can take to tackle the global financial crisis, suggesting it might resist pressure to contribute to a global bailout fund.
President Hu Jintao is due to attend next weekend's summit in Washington of leaders from 20 major economies to discuss a response to the crisis. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called on China, which has nearly $2 trillion in reserves, and oil-rich Middle Eastern nations to fund the bulk of an increase in an IMF bailout fund.
"We should put our own house in order and we should stabilize our own financial market and maintain market order," said a foreign ministry spokesman, Qin Gang. "I believe this is the most effective contribution China can make to tackling this financial crisis. It will help to maintain the sound and steady development of the world economy."
Qin said Beijing would cooperate with international efforts but gave no details.
"On international cooperation, China is acting in a constructive manner. We are ready to make concerted efforts with the international community to strengthen our cooperation and coordination and to fulfill our due role in this crisis," he said.
China, the world's fourth-largest economy, unveiled a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package Sunday, which Premier Wen Jiabao said was its "biggest contribution to the world."
The plan calls for higher spending through 2010 on airports, highways and other infrastructure, more aid to the poor and farmers and tax cuts for exporters.
Economic growth slowed to 9 percent in the last quarter, down from last year's stunning 11.9 percent rate and the slowest growth in five years. Export orders have fallen sharply as global demand weakens, leading to layoffs and factory closures.
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