In a recent visit to Beijing, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen emphasized that the United States is not pursuing a “winner-take-all” competition with China. This statement was made during her first trip to China as Treasury chief, amidst ongoing tensions between the two nations over trade restrictions, human rights issues, and other disputes.
Despite these disagreements, Yellen stressed that the US is not seeking an economic showdown with China. Instead, she advocated for a healthy economic competition that, under fair rules, could benefit both countries in the long run. This sentiment was expressed during her meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
The US has been vocal about its intentions to limit China’s access to advanced technology crucial to Washington’s national security, in an effort to “de-risk” from China. However, Yellen reassured Premier Li that while the US may need to take targeted actions to protect its national security in certain circumstances, this should not disrupt the overall relationship between the two countries.
Yellen also addressed concerns about new export controls on metals essential for semiconductor manufacturing, which were recently unveiled by Beijing on national security grounds. She expressed Washington’s concern over these curbs to American businesspeople, emphasizing that the US is not seeking a complete separation of the two economies. She warned that such a decoupling would be destabilizing for the global economy.
Despite the existing tensions, Beijing has expressed optimism about the visit. Premier Li conveyed his hope for a recovery in the relationship after a challenging period, likening it to seeing a rainbow after a storm. Analysts have also suggested that Yellen’s visit could lead to a thawing of ties between the two nations.
While no specific policy breakthroughs are expected from this visit, the US hopes for open and productive discussions that could lay the groundwork for future talks. The importance of maintaining dialogue, especially on contentious issues, was underscored.
This visit follows a series of tense incidents earlier this year, including the US shooting down a Chinese spy balloon that had traversed its territory. Despite these events, both sides have agreed on the need to stabilize their relationship, a sentiment echoed during Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to China in June.