Amid Strained Relations, Yellen Visits China

Treasury chief addresses concerns that US is looking to decouple from China's economy
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 7, 2023 10:25 AM CDT
Amid Strained Relations, Yellen Visits China
Chinese Premier Li Qiang, right, shakes hands with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, left, during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Friday, July 7, 2023.   (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen appealed to China's No. 2 leader not to let frustration over US curbs on access to processor chips and other technology disrupt economic cooperation during a visit Friday aimed at improving strained relations. Meeting with Premier Li Qiang, the AP reports that Yellen said Washington and Beijing have a duty to cooperate on issues that affect the world. She appealed for "regular channels of communication" at a time when relations are at their lowest in decades due to disputes over technology, security, and other irritants. Yellen is one of several senior US officials due to visit Beijing to encourage Chinese leaders to revive interactions between governments of the two largest economies. Treasury officials said earlier she wouldn't meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and no breakthroughs were expected.

Yellen defended "targeted actions," a reference to curbs on Chinese access to advanced processor chips and other technology, saying they are needed to protect national security.
"You may disagree," Yellen said. "But we should not allow any disagreement to lead to misunderstandings that needlessly worsen our bilateral economic and financial relationships." Yellen appealed for "healthy economic competition," a reference to complaints Beijing is stepping up use of subsidies and market barriers to protect its companies. "A fair set of rules will benefit both of our countries," Yellen said. "We also face important global challenges where the United States and China have a duty to both countries but also to the world to cooperate."

Li expressed optimism that conditions might improve but gave no indication of possible changes in Chinese policies that have irked Washington and its trading partners. Referring to a rainbow that was spotted after Yellen's plane landed Thursday in rainy weather, Li said, "after a round of wind and rain, we will definitely see more rainbows." The Chinese finance ministry called Yellen's visit a "concrete measure" toward carrying out an agreement by Xi and President Biden during a meeting in November to improve relations. It mentioned no initiatives and called on Washington to make the first move. "There will be no winners in trade wars or 'decoupling and broken chains,'" the ministry said in a statement. "We hope the United States will take concrete actions to create a favorable environment for the healthy development of economic and trade relations." (More Janet Yellen stories.)

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