Yellen's visit once again reveals the paradoxical character of US policy toward China. While Yellen underscored Washington's desire to improve relations, this will do little to change Washington's overall "decoupling" strategy. Bilateral relations are primarily based on deeds rather than words, and by seeing the PRC primarily as a strategic rival, the US will continue to block China's economic and technological rise for the sake of "national security." Unless Washington reconsiders its zero-sum approach, there is no escaping this dead end.
While Yellen's trip did not yield any concrete breakthroughs, the fact that she is the first US Treasury Secretary to visit China in four years is an important step forward. During her difficult mission, Yellen signaled that there is no contradiction in seeking to improve political and economic relations on the one hand and defending Washington's national security interests through targeted safeguards on the other. Beijing's recent punitive economic measures are unlikely to improve ties, but Washington welcomes China's efforts to discuss ways to de-escalate.
There is a 15% chance that the US and China will be at war before 2035, according to the Metaculus forecasting community.