US Treasury Secretary Wraps Up Meetings in Beijing

US Treasury Secretary Wraps Up Meetings in Beijing

After four days of talks with Chinese officials, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that the discussions were “productive” and that she was leaving China with the relationship between the two world powers on “surer footing.”

« The U.S. and China have significant disagreements, » Yellen said at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, but she added that she and U.S. President Joe Biden “believe that the world is big enough for both of our countries to thrive.”

During her visit, Yellen met with Chinese officials for 10 hours of talks. Five of them were with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng on Saturday. The U.S. Treasury Department described the meetings as “candid, constructive and comprehensive,” while Chinese state media termed them “in-depth, candid and pragmatic.”

Yellen defended Biden administration restrictions on technology exports that Beijing disagrees with and said such disagreements should not prevent the two countries from finding ways to address ″important global challenges, such as debt distress in emerging markets and developing countries and climate change.”

The Chinese side expressed concern about U.S. sanctions and restrictive measures against China, the Xinhua state news agency said. The vice premier said the two governments should return to an agreement reached in November by Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping to improve relations.

The treasury secretary was also able to meet with China’s new economic team.

“My objective during this trip has been to establish and deepen relationships with the new economic leadership team in place in Beijing,” Yellin said.

“Our discussions are part of a broader concerted effort to stabilize the relationship, reduce the risk of misunderstanding, and discuss areas of cooperation.”

On Friday, Yellen held “candid and constructive” talks with China’s prime minister, Li Qiang, in Beijing.

A Treasury Department statement said Yellen “discussed the administration’s desire to seek healthy economic competition with China that benefits both economies, including American workers and businesses.”

She also emphasized close communication on “global macroeconomic and financial issues and working together on global challenges, including debt distress in low-income and emerging economies and climate finance.”

China’s foreign ministry released a statement saying the prime minister noted that U.S. and Chinese economic interests are closely intertwined, and that China’s development is an opportunity rather than a challenge to the United States. Beijing said that Yellen stated during the talks the U.S. “does not seek ‘decoupling and disconnection’ and has no intention of hindering China’s modernization process.”

The foreign ministry said, “China and the United States should strengthen coordination and cooperation, join hands to tackle global challenges and promote common development.”

While both sides described Yellen’s visit in positive terms, no new plans for more high-level meetings were announced.

Washington is keen on strengthening ties with China’s and next month the top U.S. diplomat, Antony Blinken, is scheduled to visit China.

Climate envoy John Kerry is set to be in China later this month.

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.

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