US Treasury Sec. Yellen to Visit China

Image copyright: Federal Reserve [via Wikimedia Commons]

The Facts

  • The Chinese Finance Ministry on Monday confirmed that US Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen will visit Beijing starting Thursday amid ongoing efforts to mend bilateral relations between the superpowers.

  • According to the US Dept. of the Treasury, during her July 6-9 trip, Yellen will address the need to "responsibly manage" relations between the world's two largest economies, establish direct lines of communication in "areas of concern," and cooperate to tackle global challenges.

The Spin

Establishment-critical narrative

Yellen's trip is the latest chapter in the US' diplomatic charm offensive, which offers nothing but empty words that conflict with its hostile policy toward China. The US may now be striking more moderate tones, talking about "de-risking" rather than the foolish "decoupling" of the US economy from that of China. Yet even more pragmatic US officials like Yellen cannot hide the fact that Washington is basically pursuing a hegemonic "de-China" strategy aimed at containing the PRC's economic and technological rise. With this tactic, the US ends up hurting itself the most.

Pro-establishment narrative

Although Sino-US relations are strained, Yellen enjoys credibility in China, where she has emerged as a proponent of constructive bilateral ties at a time of growing mistrust between Washington and Beijing. As a pragmatist, Yellen embodies the Biden administration's recent "de-risking" approach, which aims to protect US national interests rather than seeking a full economic disengagement that would cause massive damage to both countries and the global economy. While Yellen's trip is unlikely to lead to a breakthrough, it is another step toward de-escalation.

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