Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will visit China this week as part of the Biden administration’s efforts to deepen communication between the two countries.
The Story: Yellen’s trip was first announced back in January but was pushed back after a Chinese Spy Balloon was seen flying over the U.S. back in February.
- President Joe Biden ordered the military to shoot down the balloon and initially wanted to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping but was talked out of it by his aides.
- Yellen will be the second Cabinet-level member to travel to China after Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Beijing to meet with his counterpart as well as Xi.
What’s new: Yellen will be in Beijing July 6-9 and will meet with senior officials in China with talks expected to be “constructive” and “frank”, according to a senior Treasury official.
- Yellen is not expected to meet with Xi, the senior Treasury official said.
- She is expected to discuss “areas of concern”, including allegations of human rights abuses, the official said.
Why it matters: Yellen’s visit comes after Biden compared Xi to “dictators” at a political fundraiser last month — comments that he said would not damage the progress made between the United States and China.
- “That’s a great embarrassment for dictators. When they didn’t know what happened. That wasn’t supposed to be going where it was. It was blown off course,” Biden said at a fundraiser on June 20.
- When questioned by reporters at the White House a few days later, the president stood by his comments just days before. “The answer to your question is no. I don’t think it’s had any real consequence,” he said.
The point: While Yellen’s visit will be yet another high-level engagement between the two countries, no “significant breakthroughs” are expected.
- The Biden administration is hoping to use the trip to ease tensions and improve the lines of communication.