China has rejected claims made by U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama that its huge trade surplus with the United States is directly related to its manipulation of its currency.

In a letter to the U.S. National Council of Textile Organizations, which was published Wednesday, Obama called on China to change its foreign exchange policies. He also urged it to rely less on exports and more on domestic demand for growth.

Obama said that if elected, he would use all diplomatic means at his disposal to induce China to make the changes.

Commenting Thursday on the remarks, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu did not directly criticize the Democratic Party candidate, but stressed that the exchange rate was not the cause of the U.S. trade deficit.

Jiang said a number of forces had contributed to the deficit including shifts in the international division of labor.

Avoiding any suggestion of which candidate China might support in next week's U.S. presidential election, Jiang said Beijing believes that whoever wins will attach importance to U.S. relations with China.

The current administration of President George Bush has pressured Beijing to raise the value of its currency, with some success, but it has refused to formally declare China a currency manipulator. 


Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.