U.S. trade and employment problems would not be solved by even a major appreciation of China’s yuan versus the dollar, Chinese President Hu Jintao was quoted as saying.

“The trade deficit and unemployment problems are not caused by the yuan exchange rate. Even a major appreciation of the yuan would not resolve the problems facing the United States,” Hu was quoted as saying on Chinanews.com.

Chinanews said Hu made the comments when he met U.S. President Barack Obama at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group summit in Hawaii.

A subsequent statement on the website of China’s Foreign Ministry carried the same comment.

Hu’s comments follow those of China’s Commerce Minister Chen Deming, who said at the recent G20 summit in Cannes that the yuan was at a reasonable level versus the dollar and was not the root cause of U.S. economic imbalances.

China’s yuan currency—also known as the renminbi—has gained about 40 percent in real effective exchange terms since Beijing abandoned its peg to the U.S. dollar in 2005.

The yuan has rallied almost four percent against the dollar in nominal terms this year.

Hu also called on Washington to relax restrictions on high-tech exports to China and make it easier for Chinese firms to invest in the United States.

Officials in Beijing say that a quick way for the U.S. to cut its trade deficit with the world’s second largest economy would be through lifting curbs on high-tech exports Washington considers sensitive.

Hu made a similar point at a meeting with U.S. business leaders on the sidelines of the APEC summit.

The leaders of the world’s two biggest economies also spoke about Iran and North Korea, the Chinese foreign ministry said on its website. It said Hu and Obama “exchanged views”, but gave no details. (Reuters)