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US-China relationship on 'more stable footing' Yellen says

April 7, 2024

Chinese Premier Li Qiang hosted the US Treasury in Beijing, and both agreed to cooperate despite their differences.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen meets Chinese Premier Li Qiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen meets Chinese Premier Li Qiang at the Great Hall of the People in BeijingImage: Tatan Syuflana/Pool/REUTERS

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Chinese Premier Li Qiang sounded cautiously confident on Sunday that ties between the world's two largest economies were improving.  

Yellen met Li in Beijing on her second visit to China in less than a year.

She told the Chinese premier that the ability to have difficult conversations has put the two economic giants on "a more stable footing." 

"While we have more to do, I believe that, over the past year, we have put our bilateral relationship on more stable footing," she said.

Relations between the US and China have often been strained in recent years, with issues such as technology, trade, human rights and Beijing's aggressive stance on Taiwan all bones of contention.

On Sunday. Li said China hoped for a partnership rather than an adversarial relationship between the two countries.

The premier added that "constructive progress" had been made during Yellen's visit.

'Balanced growth'

On Saturday, Yellen held a series of meetings in the export hub of Guangzhou.

The Treasury chief held hours of discussions with her counterpart, Vice Premier He Lifeng.

The two agreed to hold " intensive exchanges " on more balanced economic growth.

Yellen stressed that she intends to use the medium to advocate for a level playing field with China to protect US workers and businesses.

Talking about Yellen's Guangzhou visit, Li said on Sunday that Chinese internet users have closely followed the details of her trip since her appearance in the southern city, showing "expectation and hope for the China-US relationship to continue to improve."

Excess capacity arguments contentious

During her visit, Yellen emphasized the threat of China's overproduction of clean energy products, such as EVs and solar panels, to producers in the US and other countries.

It was not well-received by some sections of the Chinese media.

The state news agency Xinhua said that talking up "Chinese overcapacity" in the clean energy sector created a pretext for protectionist policies to shield American companies.

Suppressing China's EV-related industries will not help the US grow its own, Xinhua said as it expressed hope that more headway could be made during Yellen's visit to break down barriers impeding mutually beneficial cooperation.

'Real progress' in US-China talks between Biden, Xi

A meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco in November has contributed to a warming of bilateral ties.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also expected to soon visit China again in a sign that the two sides are striving to return to more settled relations.

dvv/lo (AFP, Reuters)