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China Welcomes US Currency Report Delay

Beijing has given cautious approval of the U.S. administration's postponement of a report citing China as a currency manipulator.

The decision this past weekend by United States Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to delay the report to Congress over claims China is manipulating its currency exchange rate unfairly further eased tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu struck a conciliatory tone Tuesday, saying the postponement opened the way for more discussions and what she describes as pragmatic consultations.

But she rejected claims the delay was what some analysts see as a stalling tactic by Washington to get Beijing to back sanctions against the nuclear arms program being carried out by Iran, China's close ally and major oil supplier.

China does not approve of this sort of conjecture, says Jiang, describing such views as guesswork without what she describes as, significance and basis.

Many U.S. lawmakers and politicians claim Beijing is manipulating its currency, the yuan, unfairly, so as to give Chinese manufacturers an advantage in global trade.

The report on Chinese currency was originally scheduled for April 15 but has been postponed ahead of a series of high-profile meetings between President Barack Obama's administration and China over the next three months.

Many feared the report would result in a Sino-U.S. trade war and further damage bilateral ties which are recovering after a series of terse disagreements over the past six months.

Crucially, Washington and other countries are putting pressure on Beijing to back the U.N. Security Council's planned sanctions against Tehran.

Beijing has recently shown signs it is moving in favor of tougher action against Iran.

And with Chinese President Hu Jintao due to attend a nuclear security summit in Washington next week, delaying the report will help make his arrival a warm one.