US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in an interview that aired Wednesday she hopes to travel to China to “reestablish contact” with Beijing despite differences between the two countries.
Tensions between China and the United States have soared in recent years, with both President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump calling Beijing the most serious threat to long-term US global primacy.
But the Biden administration has recently sought to dial down the heat, with Yellen telling MSNBC that her hopes in “traveling to China is to reestablish contact.”
“There are a new group of leaders, we need to get to know one another,” she said, declining to give an exact date for an expected visit to Beijing, which Bloomberg has reported will take place early next month.
Deepening China-US discord are Washington’s bans of exports of high-end semiconductors and other trade curbs on the rising power.
Yellen acknowledged in the interview that the two countries have disagreements, stressing the United States would continue to defend its national security interests.
“The United States is taking actions and will continue to take actions intended to protect our national security interest and we’ll do that even if it imposes some economic cost on us,” Yellen said.
But Yellen added that economic competition would benefit both countries.
“Healthy competition that benefits both American businesses and workers and Chinese businesses and workers, this is something that is both possible and desirable,” she said.
Yellen’s reported trip to China comes on the heels of another visit by a top US official, Antony Blinken, to Beijing this month — the first by a US Secretary of State in nearly five years.
That visit saw Blinken meet with President Xi Jinping, who said the two powers had “made progress and reached agreement” on unspecified issues.