Janet Yellen's Visit to China Establishes Stronger Diplomatic Relations

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has concluded her visit to Beijing, expressing satisfaction with the successful outcomes achieved during her trip. Over the course of several days, Yellen engaged in high-level meetings with senior Chinese officials, delving into critical subjects such as national security, technology, and trade. These discussions have laid a solid foundation for ongoing diplomacy between the United States and China, according to Yellen.

During an interview with "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan, conducted in Beijing, Yellen emphasized the importance of establishing person-to-person relationships and fostering continuous channels of communication. She believes that her trip has successfully achieved these objectives, facilitating the opportunity for more frequent and deeper contacts at the staff level.

Yellen's busy schedule included approximately 10 hours of meetings with influential Chinese leaders, including Premier Li Qiang, Vice Premier Liu He, Finance Minister Liu Kun, and Pan Gongsheng, the deputy governor of the People's Bank of China. Reflecting on the discussions, Yellen described them as direct, substantive, and productive.

One of the key takeaways from Yellen's meetings was the emphasis on forging a mutually beneficial long-term economic relationship between the United States and China, despite ongoing competition and tensions. Yellen firmly believes that healthy economic competition can be sustainable and advantageous for both nations. She conveyed this message during her conversations with Chinese officials and reiterated it during her press conference before departing for the U.S.

Yellen's engagement extended beyond official meetings. She actively sought input from U.S. business representatives operating in China, including those from prominent companies like Boeing, Bank of America, and Cargill. Yellen expressed concern over punitive actions taken against U.S. firms in recent months. Furthermore, she criticized China's new export restrictions on gallium and germanium, minerals crucial for semiconductor technologies.

The issue of intimidation faced by American companies operating in China was also addressed during Yellen's meetings. Nick Burns, the U.S. Ambassador to China, previously highlighted the challenges faced by American businesses due to the anti-espionage law enacted by China. Yellen reassured Brennan that protecting U.S. businesspeople from intimidation was a point of discussion during her meetings and would be addressed further in the future.

Yellen's visit occurred amid ongoing trade disputes and in the wake of China's anti-espionage law coming into effect. The State Department's updated travel advisory notice, highlighting the risk of wrongful detentions in China, added to the complex backdrop. Despite these challenges, Yellen emphasized the overarching goal of finding common ground and avoiding unintended escalations that could harm the overall economic relationship.

During her interview on "Face the Nation," Yellen also discussed the recent Chinese controls on the export of computer chip essentials. Yellen expressed concern over this action and drew a contrast with the targeted nature of the U.S.'s own actions, which aim to address national security concerns. The Chinese measures, in Yellen's view, may not be similarly focused on national security.

Amid concerns over a potential economic slowdown in China and fears of a recession in the U.S., Yellen acknowledged that the possibility of a recession could not be entirely ruled out. However, she highlighted the strength of the job market and the high level of prime age labor force participation. Yellen expects monthly job gains to stabilize at a more normal level as the job market reaches this stable state.

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