U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that the 10 hours of discussions with Chinese officials had been “direct, substantive, and productive”, and would put the relationship between the two powers on a “safer footing”.
“The U.S.A. and China have substantial disagreements,” Yellen stated in prepared remarks that these disagreements must be communicated directly and clearly. “But both President Joe Biden, and I, do not view the relationship between China and the U.S. through a frame of great-power conflict.”
It’s strange because this is exactly how China frames conflict. Yellen may use the most evasive words — “competition,” rivalry, “challenge,” — but at the end of the day China is trying to replace the U.S. in terms of the cold war.
“We think that the world has enough room for both our countries to flourish.” She added that both nations had an obligation to manage their relationship responsibly: “to find a way of living together and sharing in global prosperity.”
You’d expect to hear that from the person who loses in a conflict.
China had imposed export restrictions on metals used in chip manufacturing and their compounds just days before Yellen visited. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce claims to have informed the U.S.A. and Europe of this move. In October, the U.S. introduced sweeping regulations aimed at preventing the export of semiconductors and key chips to China.
Yellen stated that she “made it clear that the United States does not seek to decouple itself from China” in her discussions with Chinese Premier Li Qiang and Vice Premier He Lifeng, as well as other senior officials.
Few policy experts on either side of politics advocate a “decoupling”. Yellen used this strawman argument to convince the Chinese that our actions won’t harm the Chinese economy. The threat of an embargo on chips is no longer effective.
Yellen had a difficult task in Beijing. While expressing her concerns about “a recent increase in coercive measures against American firms,” Yellen also sought Chinese cooperation on a range of issues, from debt distress and climate change in developing countries to emerging markets.
In an April speech, she emphasized the importance of fairness when the U.S. competes with China in economic terms.
Are there any signs that we have seen over the past decade that China wants to “play fairly” with the U.S. in terms of trade? This is a delusion, and Yellen and her boss must be defeated in the year 2024. It is absurd to think that China was ever a trade partner who reciprocated.
The Mandarins of Beijing must have been amazed at their good fortune when an old, stumbling fool was elected as president. His advisors were also naive and delusional.