Receive free US-China relations updates
We’ll ship you a myFT Daily Digest e mail rounding up the newest US-China relations information each morning.
US controls on investment into China would solely goal delicate nationwide safety sectors, Janet Yellen has instructed her counterparts in Beijing throughout a four-day go to aimed toward placing a “floor” below their turbulent relationship.
Speaking at a information convention on the ultimate day of her go to, which included conferences with Premier Li Qiang and her counterpart He Lifeng, the US Treasury secretary stated she needed to allay considerations about harm to China’s economic system from the potential nationwide safety motion.
Throughout her go to Yellen has talked up the potential for ongoing trade and financial co-operation between the US and China, highlighting Washington’s want to stabilise the connection, even because it makes it more durable for China to acquire American know-how.
The Biden administration is now contemplating a mechanism to scale back the chance of US investment serving to China’s navy. “I emphasised that [investment screening] would be highly targeted and clearly directed narrowly at a few sectors where we have specific national security concerns,” Yellen stated.
Over the course of her go to, Yellen reiterated that it was important to have high-level engagement between Washington and Beijing regardless of security-related considerations.
“Even where we don’t see eye-to-eye, I believe there is clear value in the frank and in-depth discussions,” Yellen stated.
Yellen stated she had voiced concern along with her counterparts over all the pieces from safety and human rights to an “uptick in coercive actions against American firms”.
“I also raised the importance of ending Russia’s brutal and illegal war against Ukraine,” she added in remarks shortly earlier than departing Beijing. “I communicated that it is essential that Chinese firms avoid providing Russia with material support or assistance with sanctions evasion.”
Her go to got here as China grapples with an underwhelming economic recovery after the lifting of Covid controls. While China is focusing on progress of 5 per cent this yr, economists concern some underlying progress engines, such because the property sector, are getting into a protracted droop.
This has led the federal government to hunt extra international investment. But tensions with the US have harm sentiment, with enterprise involved about getting caught up in tit-for-tat commerce sanctions and more and more robust nationwide safety measures.
China’s state media typically gave muted protection of the Yellen go to. The Xinhua information company described the talks as “constructive” and “pragmatic” however stated Beijing believes that “generalising” nationwide safety points was “not conducive to normal economic and trade exchanges”.
The nationalist Global Times was extra effusive, quoting China’s second-ranked official, Premier Li Qiang, as telling Yellen that “China-US ties can see ‘rainbows’ after a round of ‘wind and rain’”.
Dennis Wilder, a former high CIA China skilled now at Georgetown University, stated Chinese leaders “clearly see Secretary Yellen as one of the more pragmatic, and less political, senior officials in the Biden administration”.
“They also assess that historically economic and trade relations have been the ballast in US-China relations, stabilising ties even when issues such as Taiwan or the Tiananmen crackdown roiled the relationship,” Wilder added. “After all, overall US-China bilateral trade continues to reach new heights even as the overall relationship has hit new lows.”