WASHINGTON – US president Barack Obama's economic aide Lawrence Summers assured China Friday that its hundreds of billions of dollars in US bond investments were safe.
Reacting to Premier Wen Jiabao's concerns about "the safety of our assets" in the United States, Summers said, "This is a commitment that the president has made very clear -- we need to be sound stewards of the money we invest."
China held 727.4 billion dollars in US Treasury bonds at the end of last year, ahead of Japan, the holder of 626 billion dollars in bonds, according to US government data.
Expressing the concern in Beijing, Wen called on US economic planners to safeguard the Chinese assets.
"We have lent huge amounts of money to the United States. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets," Wen told reporters.
"To be honest, I am a little bit worried and I would like to ... call on the United States to honour its word and remain a credible nation and ensure the safety of Chinese assets."
As the largest creditor to the United States, China is "extremely interested in developments in the US economy," he said.
Summers, asked to react to the premier's concern at a Washington forum, stressed that the United States had to utilize all resources available at present to jolt its economy from prolonged recession.
While the United States had to borrow at an "admirably high scale" now to make up for the loss of revenue due to the recession, "it does mean that your debts can't be rising relative to your incomes" when the economy begins to expand, he said.
He assured that the Obama administration would move to "getting the budget deficit, getting national finances on a sustainable basis as the economy expands."