BEIJING — Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday lectured the United States, criticizing its call for China to let its currency rise against the dollar to boost U.S. exports, advising it to work harder to improve its financial system and directing it to change its foreign policy to improve relations with China.

Wen’s comments – during a news conference at the end of China’s annual session of its nonelected legislature – seemed to indicate that China would generally pursue a relatively tough line in its relations with the United States this year.

The comments underscored China’s increasing self-confidence following its success at coping with the global financial crisis.

But Wen also continued to express caution about the course of domestic events, expressing concern about “the unsteady, uncoordinated and unstable development of the Chinese economy.”

China grew at 8.7 percent last year, the fastest of any major economy in the world, but it did so on the back of a massive stimulus package.

Wen said China’s economy faces many challenges including the possibility of a “double dip” recession if world growth doesn’t pick up – or runaway inflation if growth improves.

Wen’s statements on the currency issue appeared to close off the possibility that China would allow its currency, the yuan, to appreciate against the dollar anytime soon.

On Thursday, President Obama called on China to adopt “a more market-oriented exchange rate (that) would make an essential contribution to that global rebalancing effort.”