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Posted at 3:23 PM ET, 01/13/2011

Chinese state media sees Geithner speech in a different light than U.S. press

By Ariana Eunjung Cha

It's always interesting to compare the Chinese state-run media's take on something with reports by the Western press.

USA Today reporter Richard Wolf's view of U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's speech Wednesday ahead of the Chinese president's visit to the United States was that he was "putting China on notice: It must improve the playing field for U.S. exports, increase domestic consumption and investment, and allow its undervalued currency to rise faster than it has since June 2010 -- about 3% against the dollar."

The New York Times's Sewell Chan wrote that "Geithner, in a tone that alternated between deference and feistiness, outlined two main objectives: expanding opportunities for American companies to sell to the Chinese, and shifting the emphasis in China from exports to domestic consumption and investment as the basis for the nation's growth."

The Washington Post's Brady Dennis reported that Geithner's talk highlighted "China's unwillingness to allow its currency to rise in value," which he said "is hampering U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace and harming the Chinese economy."

And the Wall Street Journal's Michael Crittenden wrote that Geithner said "Beijing must do more to address U.S. complaints about intellectual property theft and the undervaluation of the yuan if China is to be given greater access to investment and technology opportunities in the U.S."

The official Chinese report from the government-run Xinhua had a completely different take on the speech. There was no mention of the yuan or intellectual property. Instead, Xinhua lead with: "The economic relationship between the United States and China "provides tremendous benefits" to both nations, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said here on Wednesday."

Here are the direct quotes from Geithner that Xinhua used:

"China presents enormous economic opportunities for the United States and for the world."
"This state visit takes place at a time of important transition for the world economy, for the Chinese economy and, of course, for the American economy."
"Even as we work to encourage further reforms in China we need to understand that our strength as a nation will depend not on choices made by China's leaders but on the choices we make here at home."
"Fundamentally, how many jobs and how much wealth we create will be the result of the choices we make in the United States -- not the choices of others."
"China needs the United States, but the United States also benefits very substantially from our rapidly expanding economic relationship with China."
"Our exports to China are growing at twice the rate of our exports to the rest of the world," he said. "We have a great deal invested in each other's success."
"This transition will take time, but it is already having a major impact on the shape of Chinese growth, and providing increased opportunities for American companies."
"We should welcome both the opportunity and the challenge."

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | January 13, 2011; 3:23 PM ET
Categories:  China, U.S. Treasury  
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Next: Pew poll shows shift in perceptions of world economic power from U.S. to China

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