US, Chinese officials vow improved communication to avoid conflict

Michael Buholzer/Keystone via AP
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen shakes hands with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He during a bilateral meeting in Zurich, Switzerland on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023.

U.S. and Chinese officials vowed on Wednesday to improve communication between the two countries to try to avoid any potential conflicts in the future. 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He met for the first time in Zurich, Switzerland, to discuss their countries’ economies and how to strengthen their relationship, two months after the first face-to-face meeting between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia. 

The Treasury Department said in a readout of their meeting that the two discussed their views on macroeconomic and financial issues. They recognized the importance of ensuring sustainable development and increasing their cooperation on climate finance issues. 

They also said they will work to support emerging markets and developing countries in transitioning toward using cleaner energy instead of fossil fuels. Yellen said she plans to travel to China and welcome her Chinese counterparts to the United States in the “near future.” 

Yellen said in remarks ahead of the meeting that there’s a “pressing need” for the world’s two largest economies to work closely together on macroeconomic conditions and share their views on how to best respond to financial challenges. 

She said the U.S. and China have a responsibility to show that they can “prevent competition from becoming anything ever near conflict.” 

“While we have areas of disagreement, and we will convey them directly, we should not allow misunderstandings, particularly those stemming from a lack of communication, to unnecessarily worsen our bilateral economic and financial relationship,” Yellen said. 

Bloomberg reported that Liu recognized the tensions between the two countries but noted that “we only have one planet” and “there are always more solutions than problems.” 

The meeting comes as the House voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to create a select committee focused on U.S. competition with China that is tasked with investigating the Chinese government’s economic, technological and security status and submitting recommendations on them.

Tags Janet Yellen Janet Yellen Joe Biden Treasury Department U.S.-China relations Xi Jinping

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