China sturdy enough for reforms: Geithner

BEIJING Wed May 2, 2012 10:46pm EDT

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sits in front of Chinese and U.S. national flags during the opening ceremony of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing May 3, 2012. Geithner said China is strong enough to handle the economic and financial reforms that the United States seeks. REUTERS/Jason Lee

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sits in front of Chinese and U.S. national flags during the opening ceremony of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing May 3, 2012. Geithner said China is strong enough to handle the economic and financial reforms that the United States seeks.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said China is strong enough to handle the economic and financial reforms that the United States seeks.

Geithner, who is in Beijing with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for annual talks with Beijing, said firms in both countries must compete on a level playing field in order for global trade to thrive.

But the talks risk being upstaged by the case of blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who left protective cover in the U.S. Embassy on Wednesday after having sought refuge there following his escape from 19 months of house arrest.

An initial deal between U.S. and Chinese officials on Wednesday to allow Chen to remain in China and reunite with his family appeared to fall apart on Thursday after Chen said he wants to leave for the United States because he fears for his life.

(Reporting by Rachelle Younglai; Writing by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Ken Wills)

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