1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

US: Yellen arrives in China amid strained ties

July 6, 2023

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is to meet with Chinese leaders as US-China relations remain fraught. She said ahead of her visit that the two countries "can and need to find a way to live together."

Janet Yellen shaking hands with a blue-suited woman on arrival in Beijing
Yellen's visit comes amid differences between Washington and Beijing on issues such as the South China Sea, surveillance balloons and technology controls Image: Pedro Pardo/ASSOCIATED PRESS/picture alliance

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen arrived in the Chinese capital, Beijing, on Thursday for talks with Chinese leaders as part of efforts to stabilize the tense relationship between the world's two largest economies. 

Her trip follows that of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping last month in what was the highest-level US visit to Beijing in five years.

The high-profile visits come as strains have arisen over a host of economic issues, including possible plans by Washington to limit some outbound investments involving sensitive technology — restrictions that could have consequences for China. 

Yellen is also expected to question China's support of Russia during its invasion of Ukraine, Treasury officials told reporters in Washington ahead of the trip.

She is due to meet with Chinese officials, American businesspeople and members of the public, but not with Xi, they said.

What are the current tensions between the US and China?

Most recently, ties between the two countries were worsened by comments by US President Joe Biden referring to Xi as a dictator. Biden has not retracted his remarks despite vehement Chinese protest.

Before that, however, there have been disputes over technology, security and China's assertive policy abroad, including its claims in the South China Sea and other territory.

Washington has also stepped up restrictions on China's access to processor chips that were already imposed by the previous administration under Donald Trump.

China has this week responded to technology controls imposed by the US by announcing limits on exports of gallium and germanium, which are utilized in the manufacture of semiconductors, solar panels, missiles and radar.

The shooting down of a Chinese surveillance balloon flying over the US in February has also contributed to a worsening of bilateral relations.

Yellen has recently emphasized, however, that it is risky to disconnect US and Chinese industry and markets, and that the two governments "can and need to find a way to live together."

tj/wd (AFP, AP)