Yellen says US, China want to ‘stabilize’ relationship

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US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she believes the United States and China want to stabilize their economic ties with “candor” and “respect.”

Yellen told American Public Media’s Marketplace in an interview taped shortly before her departure from Beijing on Sunday that she believed her trip, during which both sides discussed “significant disagreements,” had succeeded in putting a floor under the relationship.

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“There are challenges, but I believe there is a desire on both sides to stabilize the relationship and to constructively address problems that each of us see in our relationship, to do so frankly, with candor, with respect and to build a productive relationship going forward,” she said.

Yellen told Marketplace that the visit had been constructive and allowed her to make clear that US export controls and other actions were motivated by national security concerns and to diversify supply chains, not to gain unfair economic advantage.

“I spent many hours with my counterpart going through in detail our concerns and addressing them and making clear that they have an open channel of communication,” Yellen said.

Both sides, she said, agreed to “maintain open channels of communication and deepen our discussion of concerns that one another have.”

With US-China relations at a low over national security issues -- including Taiwan, US export bans on advanced technologies and China’s state-led industrial policies -- Washington has been trying to repair ties between the world’s two biggest economies.

Yellen’s trip followed one by Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month, the first trip by the top US diplomat in Democrat Joe Biden’s presidency. Climate envoy John Kerry is expected to visit China this month.

Yellen underscored that Washington was not looking to decouple from the Chinese economy, as Beijing fears, and noted that the United States and China would have almost $700 billion in trade this year, benefiting both sides.

She said China has made many advances in recent years, including addressing a serious pollution problem in Beijing.

China, still the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, has also invested in technological innovation - in electric cars, electric batteries and renewable energy - that could drive down the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and around the world.

“This is one of the most important bilateral relationships and economic and financial relationships that we have,” Yellen said.

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