S Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen visited China from July 6 to 9, where she met with some of China’s top leadership and stressed that the US does not seek to decouple from China.
Coming after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s two-day stay in Beijing in mid-June, Yellen’s visit was expected to further warm Sino-US relations which, according to Chinese State media Xinhua News Agency, are at a historic low.
Yellen met with Chinese leaders, including Chinese Premier Li Qiang, Deputy Premier He Lifeng, Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun, former Vice Premier Liu He and Governor of the People’s Bank of China Yi Gang. Yellen sought to allay Chinese concerns over decoupling and said that the US hopes to build resilient communication channels with Beijing.
In an interview with MSNBC, Yellen, who has been planning the trip for a long time, emphasized the importance for both countries to discuss disagreements with each other to prevent misunderstandings. She said a healthy economic relationship will be beneficial for both countries.
Yellen said she talked with Chinese officials for 10 hours altogether, and has “made some progress,” though it is impossible to solve all disagreements overnight. Yellen said that decoupling with Beijing would be “disastrous” to the world, Reuters reported.
Following Yellen’s visit, the Chinese Ministry of Finance said that China hopes the US will work with China to implement the understandings reached by the two countries’ top leaders in Bali, Indonesia last year and ensure Sino-US relations return to the right path.
The ministry said that China and the US have mutual economic interests and that China’s development is an opportunity and benefit to the US other than challenges and risks.
China believes a healthy Sino-US economic relationship should be based on respecting each other’s legitimate interests and rights and competing with each other based on the rules of the market economy and the WTO. The briefing stressed that China keeps improving its socialist market economy institutions and it is making efforts for higher opening and a better business environment for all market entities.
The briefing expressed China’s strong willingness to cooperate with other countries on global challenges like climate change and debts and urged the US to take real actions on China’s major concerns over the US’s economic restrictions and sanctions on China, such as tariffs, export restrictions, unfair treatment to Chinese enterprises, and the ban on some products from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Yellen’s visit came as Washington is intensifying its technological blockade against China, according to a Xinhua commentary. Several days prior to Yellen’s visit, China announced export restrictions on industrial products and materials containing gallium and germanium which are crucial for electronic parts, integrated circuits and optoelectronic devices. Although Beijing claimed the measure does not target any specific country, it is widely regarded as a countermeasure to the US’s high-tech restrictions on China.
“It is unproductive when the United States is posturing for dialogue and communication, while tightening its blockade and containment against China. China will not accept a bullying offer,” said the Xinhua commentary, adding that over the decades, cooperation between the two countries in various sectors has greatly benefited both countries.
According to Chinese data, trade in goods between China and the US hit a record of US$690.6 billion in 2022, despite the bilateral tensions.
“There is no doubt that a stable and sound China-US relationship is in the interests of the whole world. Thus Washington should join Beijing in upholding the principles of mutual respect, peaceful co-existence and win-win cooperation, and exploring the right way to get along in the new era. That is how the two sides can ultimately dispel the dark storms still gathering over their relations,” Xinhua commented.