Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will travel to Beijing next week as the United States continues its mission to try to ease tension with China and restore a working relationship.
Yellen’s trip will be her first to China as Treasury Secretary and comes weeks after Secretary of State Antony Blinken met President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
Blinken became the first senior US diplomat to visit China in five years following tensions between the two superpowers over COVID, Taiwan, economic rivalry, human rights and the ‘spy balloon’ saga.
Both Washington and Beijing said progress had been made, without detailing concrete examples.
Blinken’s trip was quickly overshadowed by President Joe Biden, who referred to Xi as a dictator, comments that angered China. Biden played down the drama, insisting that he hoped to see Xi himself in the near future and that he didn’t think his words would make any difference to their relationship.
Treasury did not say who Yellen, the first woman to head the department, would meet with.
Janet Yellen, the first woman to head the Treasury, will travel to China this week
Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State, is seen in Beijing on June 19 meeting with Xi Jinping. Blinken is the first senior US official to visit China in five years.
Blinken meets Chinese President Xi Jinping on June 19
But their visit would look at ways to work together on issues of mutual interest, the Treasury said.
“While in Beijing, Secretary Yellen will discuss with PRC officials the importance of our countries, as the world’s two largest economies, responsibly managing our relationship, communicating directly on areas of concern and work together to address global challenges.”
Yellen will discuss national security interests, human rights, “mutually beneficial growth and innovation,” opportunities for American workers and business, and cooperation on issues like climate change and debt distress.
The Treasury chief plans to tell China’s new economic team that Washington will continue to defend human rights and its own national security interests through actions directed against China, but wants to work with Beijing on urgent challenges.
“We are seeking a healthy economic relationship with China that fosters growth and innovation in both countries,” an official told Reuters.
‘We are not seeking to decouple our economies. A complete cessation of trade and investment would be destabilizing both for our countries and for the global economy.”
A second administration official told Reuters Yellen was expected to meet Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng.
Yellen is seen with a shrimp po-boy at Domilise’s Po-Boy & Bar in New Orleans on Friday.
Yellen would underscore Washington’s determination to strengthen its own competitiveness while responding to what Washington calls “economic coercion” and unfair economic practices by China.
A clear area of concern involves China’s new espionage and national security law, and the potential implications for foreign and US companies, the official added.
“We are concerned about the new measure, and how it could be applied, which could widen the scope of what authorities in China consider espionage activity,” the official said.
While no major “breakthroughs” were expected, Treasury officials hope to have constructive talks and build long-term communication channels with China’s new economic team.
US officials would also reiterate concerns about human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim minority, China’s recent move to ban sales of Micron Technology’s memory chips, and China’s moves against foreign due diligence and consulting firms. .
Yellen would also speak to Chinese officials about long-awaited US executive action curbing foreign investment in China in certain critical sectors, and “make sure they don’t think something is more radical than it is or what it is.” it’s intended to be,” the officer said.
Yellen is expected to be followed to China later this year by John Kerry, Biden’s climate envoy, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
Blinken said last week that the visits were aimed solely at “rebuilding sustained lines of communication” with Chinese officials.
“The importance is that they are talking,” said David Loevinger, who helped coordinate US-China economic talks for the Obama administration.
He said the washington post: ‘It’s amazing, at all levels of the US and Chinese governments, how little communication there is.
“We need to be able to talk and have relationships where people can pick up the phone.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping looks on as he meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
His visit comes amid simmering Chinese anger over Biden’s “dictator” comment.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said last week that Biden’s comments “go totally against the facts and seriously violate diplomatic protocol and seriously infringe on China’s political dignity.”
‘It is a flagrant political provocation. China expresses strong dissatisfaction and opposition,’ Mao told a daily briefing.
“The American comments are extremely absurd and irresponsible.”
Biden, in off-the-cuff remarks at a fundraiser, said Xi was embarrassed by recent tensions over an alleged Chinese spy balloon that had been shot down by the Air Force over the east coast.
“The reason Xi Jinping got really upset when I brought down that balloon with two truckloads of spy equipment was because he didn’t know it was there,” Biden said, referring to the February incident.
It is a great shame for dictators. When they didn’t know what happened. That wasn’t supposed to go where it was. He went off course.
Mao reiterated China’s argument that the balloon was intended for meteorological research and had accidentally drifted off course.
“The United States should have handled it in a calm and professional manner,” he said.
“However, the United States distorted the facts and used force to exaggerate the incident, fully revealing its bullying and hegemonic nature.”
The Chinese ‘spy balloon’ is shown on February 4 being shot down off the coast of South Carolina.
The ‘spy balloon’ is seen on February 1 over Billings, Montana. It traversed the United States before being shot down.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said Biden’s comments “go totally against the facts and seriously violate diplomatic protocol and seriously infringe on China’s political dignity.”
In In March, Xi secured an unprecedented third term as president after securing another five years as head of the ruling Communist Party in October, making him China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.
Biden also said that China “has real economic difficulties.”
China’s economy faltered in May as industrial production and retail sales growth missed forecasts, adding to expectations that Beijing will need to do more to shore up a shaky post-pandemic recovery.
Earlier this month, the World Bank forecast 2023 US growth of 1.1 percent, more than double the 0.5 percent forecast in January.
Meanwhile, China’s growth is expected to rise to 5.6 percent, compared with a forecast of 4.3 percent in January.
Blinken and Xi agreed in their meeting on Monday to stabilize the intense rivalry between Washington and Beijing from escalating into a conflict, but made no progress during a rare visit to China by the secretary of state.
They agreed to continue the diplomatic engagement with more visits from US officials in the coming weeks and months.
Before his damaging comments, Biden said Monday he thought relations between the two countries were on the right track and indicated progress was made during Blinken’s trip.
Biden said Xi was concerned about the so-called Quad strategic security group, which includes Japan, Australia, India and the United States.
The US president said he previously told Xi that the US was not trying to encircle China with the Quad.
“He called me and told me not to do that because I was putting him on the spot,” Biden said.