U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen held “candid and constructive” talks Friday with China’s Prime Minister Li Qiang in Beijing.
A Treasury Department statement said Yellen “discussed the administration’s desire to seek healthy economic competition with China that benefits both economies, including American workers and businesses.”
She also emphasized close communication on “global macroeconomic and financial issues and working together on global challenges, including debt distress in low-income and emerging economies and climate finance.”
The U.S. treasury secretary began a four-day visit to China on Friday by calling for market reforms in the world’s second-largest economy, and warning that the United States and its allies will fight back against what she called China’s “unfair economic practices.”
Speaking Friday in Beijing to the American Chamber of Commerce in China, Yellen said, “The United States does not seek a wholesale separation of our economies. … The decoupling of the world’s two largest economies would be destabilizing for the global economy, and it would be virtually impossible to undertake.”
And while she noted the importance of trade and investment with China, Yellen also “raised concerns, including barriers to market access, China’s use of non-market tools, and punitive actions that have been taken against U.S. firms in recent months,” during a roundtable with more than 10 U.S. businesses operating in Beijing.
“She also reaffirmed the U.S. economic approach to China, which remains focused on three primary objectives: securing vital interests pertaining to national security and human rights; pursuing healthy and mutually beneficial economic competition, in which China plays by international rules; and seeking mutual cooperation on urgent global challenges, including on the macroeconomy, climate, and global debt,” according to a Treasury Department statement Friday.
Yellen arrived in Beijing Thursday and tweeted, U.S. President Joe Biden “charged his administration with deepening communication between our two countries on a range of issues, and I look forward to doing so during my visit.”
Treasury Department officials said ahead of the trip that Yellen would be discussing stabilizing the global economy, as well as challenging China’s support of Russia during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Yellen was not expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Her visit, which is scheduled to last through Sunday, follows U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Beijing last month.
Yellen met earlier this week with China’s ambassador to the United States, Xie Feng, where the Treasury Department said Yellen “raised issues of concern while also conveying the importance of the two largest economies working together on global challenges, including on macroeconomic and financial issues.”
Chinese state media said Xie expressed hope that the two countries will eliminate interference and strengthen dialogue.
Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.