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United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has emphasized the importance of maintaining robust economic relations between the US and China, while urging Beijing to address the involvement of Chinese firms in Russia’s war in Ukraine.
In her recent remarks, Yellen clarified that the US does not “seek to decouple our economy from China’s.” However, she highlighted the Biden administration’s readiness to take unilateral actions against Chinese companies providing defense equipment to Moscow.
According to Yellen, the US Treasury has identified instances of Chinese firms and banks aiding the transfer of critical military equipment to Russia despite existing sanctions. She said, “We are concerned that in spite of a sanctions program that we’ve put in place, that equipment that is critical to Russia’s military effort is nevertheless evading sanctions and being delivered to Russia.” Yellen added that she wasn’t directly implicating the Chinese government. She also mentioned her plans to visit China next year, following an invitation from Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng, to continue high-level economic discussions.
Yellen’s meeting with He in San Francisco sets the stage for upcoming talks between President Joe Biden and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. The Biden administration, continuing some policies of former President Donald Trump, has faced strained relations with China over issues like domestic manufacturing and alleged rights abuses.
Despite these challenges, recent months have seen efforts to reinvigorate diplomatic engagement, including Yellen’s meetings with Chinese officials to discuss economic policies and global challenges such as climate change.