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New China leader Xi to meet U.S.'s Lew to discuss cyber row, trade

MYT 12:15:00 PM

BEIJING (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will meet new Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday at a critical time in relations between the world's two largest economies, with cyber hacking, the Chinese currency and market access high on the agenda for talks.

The meeting will be Xi's first with a senior foreign official since he was formally elected as president by China's parliament on Thursday. It is also Lew's first major trip since his confirmation, indicating the importance of the relationship.

China's newly-elected President Xi Jinping scratches his face during the sixth plenary meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee
China's newly-elected President Xi Jinping scratches his face during the sixth plenary meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the head of government, pledged on Sunday to forge "a new type of relationship" with the United States and called for the end of a cyber-hacking row between the two countries.

A private U.S. computer security company said last month a secretive Chinese military unit was likely behind a series of hacking attacks targeting the United States. President Barack Obama raised the issue during a phone call with Xi last week.

Lew plans to press Chinese officials to stop cyber attacks directed at the United States. China, in turn, says it is the target of U.S. hacking attacks.

Li has said reform was necessary to deliver long-term economic stability and Lew will also push China to accelerate economic reforms.

Lew also wants Beijing to allow its currency to rise faster against the U.S. dollar and to take steps to increase market access for U.S. goods and to protect intellectual property rights better.

Later on Tuesday, Lew will meet Xu Shaoshi, chairman of China's National and Development Reform Commission, the economic planning agency that wields approval authority over major investment projects.

Lew will also meet newly-appointed finance minister Lou Jiwei, formerly head of China's sovereign wealth fund.

(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Paul Tait and Michael Perry)

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