This week, Janet Yellen will go to Beijing to discuss how to “responsibly manage” the relationship between the world’s two biggest economies.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has confirmed plans to send a high-ranking cabinet member to Beijing for the second time in less than a month; this is to help improve ties with China as tensions rise over the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and Taiwanese separatism.
On July 6–9, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will go to China to talk with Chinese leaders about how the world’s two biggest economies can work together better. The US Treasury Department said in a statement on Sunday that Yellen will talk to Chinese officials about the need for the two countries to “responsibly manage our relationship, communicate directly about areas of concern, and work together to address global challenges.”
Nearly three weeks will have passed since US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing to ease tensions between the two governments. Yellen’s trip will take place in the middle of that time. Blinken said his “honest” talks with Xi and other Chinese leaders helped stabilise ties between the US and China.
But a day after his top official returned from a long-awaited trip, Biden caused a new scandal when he called Xi a “dictator” in a speech to political donors in California. The Chinese government filed a formal complaint through its embassy in Washington and called in US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns to give an official reprimand for what it called a “political provocation.”
Biden and Blinken said that the president’s use of the word “dictator” wouldn’t hurt efforts to unite the two countries. Blinken said that Biden “always says what’s on his mind,” so Beijing shouldn’t have been surprised by the insult.
The US Treasury Department also said that Yellen’s trip was in response to Biden’s order last November to improve communication with the Chinese government on “a range of issues, including the global macroeconomy and financial developments.”
As the secretary of the Treasury, Yellen is the most important person in Washington who makes economic decisions. US officials haven’t said who in China she wants to meet with while she’s there. It is said that she has no plans to meet with Xi. The Chinese Ministry of Finance only said one line to confirm when she would be there.
Yellen has been critical of China’s reaction to the Ukraine crisis. She said that Beijing’s “no-limits partnership and support for Russia is a worrying sign that it is not serious about ending the war.” Xi’s government proposed a 12-point plan in February to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Officials from the US and NATO turned down the plan, saying that China had no authority on the subject.