BEIJING, Oct 14 (Reuters) - The United States fired the first shot in the currency war and the rest of the world must be on guard for its deliberate strategy to devalue the dollar, a Chinese economist said in an official newspaper on Thursday.
In a front-page commentary in the overseas edition of the People's Daily, Li Xiangyang described the United States as the conflict's "first maker of tomb figures", a Chinese idiom that means someone who creates a bad precedent.
Li, head of the Asia department at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a top government think tank, said continued intervention in currency markets by developed economies would deal a blow to global economic recovery.
Chinese leaders have warned before that loose monetary policies in the United States pose a serious challenge for emerging markets, but rarely in such strident language, a window onto the rising anger in Beijing.
"The dollar's depreciation may appear to be market-driven. In reality, it is a depreciation coloured by very strong, deliberate actions," Li said in the paper, which serves as the chief mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party.
The overseas edition of the People's Daily is a smaller offshoot of the domestic edition.
Li said the Federal Reserve's announcement that it might soon launch another round of quantitative easing by buying bonds and other financial assets had been the key factor pulling down the dollar.
The motives were plain enough, he said.
Without a weaker dollar, the United States would have no hope of meeting President Barack Obama's goal to double exports in five years, Li said.
Dollar depreciation will also serve longer-term interests by generating inflation and easing the debt burden that the financial crisis dumped on the U.S. government.
"If the global financial crisis was about nationalising private debt, then in the post-crisis period the urgent need of the United States is to internationalise its national debt," he said. (Reporting by Simon Rabinovitch; Editing by Chris Lewis)