China, US announces ‘productive’ economic meeting

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US and Chinese officials held a “productive” first meeting on Monday of a new economic working group, the Treasury Department said, as both countries seek to steady ties.

“The delegations met virtually for two hours and had a productive and substantive discussion on topics including domestic and global macroeconomic developments,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.

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“US officials also frankly raised areas of concern,” it added.

The economic working group was set up after US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited Beijing in July, where she met high-level officials including Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng.

A separate financial working group will hold its first meeting on Wednesday.

US-China relations are at their lowest point in years, with tension ranging over trade, human rights, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

While the United States has said it now sees China as its top geopolitical rival, China has pushed back over what it calls a US policy of containment and encirclement against it in the Pacific and elsewhere.

Chinese state media described the meeting as “candid and constructive.”

“The two sides had in-depth, candid and constructive communication on issues such as the global macroeconomic situation and policies, bilateral economic relations, and cooperation in responding to global challenges,” state broadcaster CCTV reported.

“China expressed its own concerns. Both parties will continue to maintain communication,” the report added.

Senior officials from the Treasury and China’s Ministry of Finance led the meeting.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on a visit to China in August that the United States was seeking a more normalized relationship with the world’s second-biggest economy.

But curbs announced by Washington this month on exports of state-of-the-art AI chips to China have added to the friction between the two powers.

Following the announcement, China said it was “strongly dissatisfied” and “firmly opposes” the curbs.

Last week, the United States accused China of orchestrating a “concerted” campaign of dangerous and provocative air force maneuvers against US military planes in international airspace, warning such moves could spark inadvertent conflict.

Ely Ratner, assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, blamed the incidents on China declining “our invitations to open lines of military-to-military communication at the senior-most levels.”

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