Pragmatism amidst challenges in US-China relations

Janet Yellen, China
Image credit: CEPA

The recent visit of US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to China has stirred discussions on the evolving dynamics between the two economic powerhouses. Amid heightened tensions and rhetoric surrounding issues like trade imbalances and technological competition, Yellen’s visit underscores the importance of pragmatic engagement in fostering constructive dialogue and understanding.

Yellen’s decision to commence her visit in Guangzhou, a burgeoning hub of technological innovation, highlights the significance of China’s economic landscape. The meetings with representatives from various sectors reflect a pragmatic approach aimed at gaining insights into China’s business environment and exploring avenues for collaboration.

One focal point of discussions has been the purported “Chinese overcapacity” in sectors such as electric vehicles (EVs) and clean energy—a characterization challenged by Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng. He argues that the global transition towards EVs represents an inevitable shift, with China playing a pivotal role in driving innovation and production in this sector. Rather than resorting to trade protectionism, embracing this transformation could pave the way for mutual benefits and technological advancements.

Amidst debates on decoupling between the US and China, both Yellen and President Joe Biden advocate for maintaining engagement—a sentiment echoed by Chinese officials. Recognizing the interdependence of their economies, decoupling is viewed as an impractical and potentially detrimental option. Instead, emphasis is placed on resolving differences through peaceful negotiations and mutual respect.

From the Chinese perspective, the US is not seen as an adversary but as a crucial partner for cooperation and mutual benefit. President Xi Jinping’s recent phone call with President Biden and upcoming meetings between top officials signal a commitment to preventing further deterioration of bilateral relations.

Maintaining stability and fostering cooperation between China and the US is paramount for global peace and prosperity. As tensions persist, both nations must prioritize dialogue and cooperation to navigate challenges and foster a climate of mutual understanding and respect.

In a world marked by uncertainty, the path forward lies in promoting genuine friendship, peace, and cooperation between China and the US—a shared responsibility that holds the key to a more prosperous and harmonious future.


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