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Chinese President Hu Jintao got an earful from U.S. lawmakers on North Korea and human rights on Thursday, but tried to assure the United States that China's military and trade policies were not a threat.
Hu wrapped up the Washington leg of a four-day state visit with a call on leaders of the U.S. Congress and a speech to businessmen that stressed China-U.S. collaboration and played down disputes between the world's top two economies.
"We do not engage in an arms race or pose a military threat to any country. China will never seek hegemony or pursue an expansionist policy," he told a gathering hosted by the U.S.-China Business Council.
On trade, Hu highlighted figures that showed that cheap Chinese exports had saved American consumers $600 billion over the past decade and said his country has become the biggest source of profits for many U.S. firms.
"Even in 2008 and 2009, when the international financial crisis was most severe, over 70 percent of American companies in China remained profitable," he said a day after the two countries signed deals they said were worth $45 billion.
Hu did not address the currency issue that has exercised many U.S. lawmakers, who argue that China keeps its yuan weak to boost exports -- costing millions of U.S. jobs and increasing a trade gap that Washington puts at $270 billion.
President Barack Obama urged Hu during their White House summit on Wednesday to let the value of the yuan rise against the dollar.
Vice President Joe Biden said "significant discussions" in private about the yuan with Hu's delegation showed him that the Chinese understand they must work on the currency dispute that is a major irritant between the United States and China.
"They indicate that they understand that -- that they have to work on it," he said. Asked whether Hu made any commitments, Biden replied: "Nothing specific."