Establishing adequate communication between the United States and China to achieve cooperation in areas such as climate change and debt was the essential purpose of the US Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, who had around 10 hours of high-level meetings in the Asian country. , especially in the economic section. Both countries sat down to talk, but they recognized that there are important differences in their relations.
Four days in Beijing were enough for the US Treasury Secretary to exchange points of view with the main economic policy makers of the Asian country, including the Prime Minister, Li Qiang; the new head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at the People’s Bank, Pan Gongsheng; Finance Minister Liu Kun and Vice Premier He Lifeng.
Yellen said her visit was aimed at establishing and deepening ties with China’s new economic team, reducing the risk of misunderstanding and paving the way for cooperation in areas such as climate change and debt.
It’s that with US-China relations at rock bottom over national security concerns, differences over Taiwan, US export bans on advanced technologies, and China’s state industrial policies, Washington has been trying to mend ties between the two. largest economies in the world.
That is why the words with which this trip is remembered are decisive. “Frank and productive” in the end were the adjectives used by both sides to describe the results of the talks, although both emphasized the need to “avoid misunderstandings.” They also acknowledged existing disagreements and pledged to continue “dialogue and exchanges.”
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the meetings with senior Chinese officials were “direct” and “productive”, helping to stabilize the often shaky relationship between the superpowers.
The US diplomatic push comes ahead of a possible meeting between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi in September or at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum meeting scheduled for November in San Francisco.
What did you talk about?
The representatives of China expressed their concerns about the US sanctions and its restrictive measures against their country.
For her part, Yellen criticized Beijing’s “unfair practices” as “existing barriers to accessing its markets,” and was clear that Washington will continue to take “specific measures for national security reasons.”
They also discussed the restrictions that the US imposed last year on the export of American-made semiconductors and materials, a measure called to limit Beijing’s ability to manufacture parts necessary for the operation of supercomputers or advanced military systems.
Another restriction that could be added is that referring to exports of artificial intelligence chips to China, according to the US press. Meanwhile, China limited this week the export of gallium and germanium, two key metals for the manufacture of semiconductors, a product that is the center of commercial and technological tensions between the two.
“Abusing the concept of national security is something that the only thing it achieves is damaging economic and commercial exchanges,” accused the Chinese state agency Xinhua after the meeting on Saturday between Yellen and He, evidencing the disagreements.
The Secretary of the Treasury, for her part, also brought to the fore the latest “punitive measures against American firms”, in reference to the investigations launched in China against various American consultancies or the ban on the American technology company Micron from selling products to Chinese customers. .
A good sign for the world
The Chinese press affirms that “it is the United States that must work with China” so that relations return “to the right path”, although it acknowledges that US officials are making “efforts” to improve contacts.
“It is a positive sign for the world, which urgently needs the two great global economic powers to talk and cooperate in the face of ever greater challenges. But it is necessary for Washington to be true to its words,” comments the official Global Times newspaper in this regard. an editorial.
So one of the most interesting parts of Yellen’s speech was this: “President (Joe) Biden and I do not view the relationship between the United States and China through the framework of a conflict between great powers. We believe the world is big enough for our two countries to prosper.”
According to academic Gao Lingyun, from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the economic relations between the two “served for a long time as a stabilizing factor”, but the problem now is that the two powers compete at the same time that they show their dependence, which makes so difficult to reach “meaningful” agreements.
In this regard, it is necessary to highlight that Yellen recognized that the US “does not seek to dissociate itself economically from China” because that would be “disastrous” and “destabilizing” for both: “Seeing both parties sitting at the table is good in itself. But for the United States to sanction China while expressing ‘concerns’ is somewhat exaggerated. It only serves to justify their measures, which are aimed at harming China’s development,” Gao denounced.
The spy balloon, on the table
While Yellen called for competing “under some rules”, Vice Premier He confessed that he regretted the “unexpected incidents that damaged ties in recent months”, in apparent reference to the episode of the alleged Chinese “spy” balloon that flew over the United States at the end of January and fell over Atlantic waters on February 4.
That episode seemed to destroy the rapprochement between the presidents of both countries, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, during their meeting in November 2022 on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali.
Yellen’s visit followed the one made in June by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who also emphasized “the importance of keeping communication channels open in all areas to reduce the risk of miscalculation” in an attempt to lower tension between the two powers and prevent competition from leading to open conflict.
Climate envoy John Kerry is expected to visit China this month to continue this idea of dialogue and rapprochement between these economic titans.
With EFE and Reuters
Source: France 24