China's leader-in-waiting urged the United States to "curb its tendency of politicising economic issues", state media said Wednesday, after Washington said it was probing Chinese solar panel makers.
Vice President Xi Jinping made the comments in a meeting with Henry Paulson, the former US treasury secretary, on Tuesday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
"I hope the United States will... curb its tendency towards protectionism and of politicising economic issues," said Xi, who is widely touted to take over from current President Hu Jintao in 2013, according to the report.
The United States has recently stepped up criticism of what it says are unfair Chinese trade practices in the face of deep US voter anger over high unemployment and the state of the economy.
Some US lawmakers have blamed China's rise for job losses at home -- criticism that Beijing has rejected.
Last month, the US Commerce Department announced it would probe complaints by a US firm that China was selling solar cells and panels in the US market at below the cost of production.
There has also been increased criticism from both sides of the US political spectrum of China's yuan currency, which many lawmakers in Washington say is grossly undervalued and costs jobs. Beijing rejects these claims.