the World Is Big Enough for US, China to ‘Thrive’

  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen concluded her trip to China on Sunday with an appeal for both nations to find ‘a way to live together.’
  • ‘We believe that the world is big enough for both of our countries to thrive,’ she said.
  • Yellen pushed for cooperation on climate change and resuming high-level talks.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that a four-day visit to China has put political relations between both countries on a “surer footing,” despite a recent intensifying tech war.

“President Biden and I do not see the relationship between the US and China through the frame of great power conflict. We believe that the world is big enough for both of our countries to thrive,” she said, according to a transcript of her speech on Sunday.

During her trip, Yellen sought greater cooperation with China on funding to tackle the climate crisis and resuming the high-level talks that have faltered since the COVID-19 pandemic, per the transcript.

Even so, Yellen voiced concerns over China’s “unfair economic practices,” including an updated counter-espionage law and crackdown on foreign businesses. The US Chamber of Commerce said in an April 28 statement that these actions raised the risks and uncertainty of doing business in China.

Yellen’s visit came against the backdrop of simmering trade tensions between the US and China. Just days before her arrival, China restricted exports of two crucial chip-making rare metals.

The move marked an escalation from the Biden administration’s introduction of new export restrictions on advanced chips to China last October. In a note last week, analysts at the Eurasia Group described it as a “shot across the bow” to deter the imposition of further restrictions.

Her trip marks the second high-profile visit by a Biden administration official to China, following Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in June, which concluded with a pledge to stabilize US-China relations.

John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate change, is slated for a visit to China later this month, per Bloomberg.

Despite Yellen’s optimism, at least one analyst feels that relations between the US and China remain tenuous. 

“Trouble is, even if on a surer footing, one cannot shake off the feeling that US-China relations remain on the wrong foot,” Vishnu Varathan, the head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank’s Asia and Oceania treasury department, said in a Monday note.

“The silver lining is that candid conversations, resulted in common ground on: ensuring there is no dis-engagement (keeping channels of communications open), and; not allowing diplomatic spats to usurp economic ties, with adverse spillover,” he wrote.

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