(CNN) -- China will not bend to economic pressure from U.S. lawmakers, even as it further opens its markets to the world, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Wednesday night in New York.
Wen covered topics such as the U.S. trade deficit with China and his country's controversial exchange rate policy while delivering a speech to business people. He is in New York for the annual General Assembly meetings at the United Nations.
China will continue reforming and opening its markets, Wen said, which it started in 1978 by officially ending decades of isolation from the outside world. But U.S. lawmakers' demands for China to revalue its currency by more than 20 percent would bankrupt Chinese companies and lead to "major unrest" in his country, the premier said.
On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives considered a bill to allow the United States to retaliate against China's handling of its currency. Some trade leaders say Beijing has suppressed the yuan's value, giving its exporters an unfair advantage in world trade.
Wen initially struck an affable tone, beginning his remarks with a rare, unscripted detour from his prepared statements. Wen referred to historical cooperation between Chinese and Americans, including five Chinese citizens who fought in the U.S. Civil War.
China and the United States have had a positive relationship despite "minor fluctuations," he said, apparently referring to differences over the U.S. trade deficit and currency policy.
The premier also went on the offensive, accusing the United States of policies that impede fair trade.
"China will continue to increase imports from the United States," he said. "Meanwhile, America should also recognize China's market economic status, relax export control against China, and take concrete moves to promote free trade in a real sense."