* Obama presses yuan as "most important issue"
* President asks China's Wen to do more on currency
* Wen quoted as saying exchange rate reform to continue
(Adds quotes from U.S. official)
NEW YORK, Sept 23 U.S. President Barack Obama
said in a meeting on Thursday with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao
that China needed to do more to resolve a dispute over the
value of the Chinese currency, a senior U.S. official said.
Obama told Wen in their talks on the sidelines of the U.N.
General Assembly that the currency was the "most important
issue" of their meeting, the official said.
"The president talked about the importance of our trading
relation in general and the currency issue specifically to the
United States and the world economy," Jeffrey Bader, the senior
National Security Council official for Asia, told reporters.
Calling the yuan, or renminbi, "the most important issue
we're going to talk about today," Obama called on Wen's China
to "do more than it has done to date," Bader added.
Wen told Obama that China would press ahead with reforming
exchange rate rules for the yuan, Bader said.
"Premier Wen did reiterate the Chinese intention to ...
continue with reform of their exchange rate mechanism."
China's central bank said in June it would loosen a peg
against the dollar and let the yuan fluctuate more freely.
Since then it has risen 1.8 percent against the dollar.
The slow appreciation of the yuan makes it an easy target
for U.S. politicians eager to address high unemployment in an
The talks between Obama and Wen came as U.S. lawmakers
appeared to move closer than ever to acting on long-standing
threats to pass legislation that would penalize China for
keeping its currency artificially low.
Critics inside and outside Congress say China deliberately
undervalues its currency by as much as 25 percent to 40 percent
to give Chinese companies an unfair trade advantage, hurting
U.S. exports and employment.
In a speech on Wednesday night, Wen rejected any link
between the level of the Chinese yuan and a U.S. trade deficit
with China that annually exceeds $200 billion.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Jerry