Yellen finds her voice in China

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen departed Beijing on Sunday after several days of talks with Chinese officials that she called “direct, substantive and productive.”

Yellen’s visit comes as the Biden Administration struggles to balance its economic policy toward China rhetorically:

  • 💔 China hawks have called for ‘decoupling’ – a total divorce from Chinese supply chains
  • 🤨 Others, including National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, have described the US approach as ‘de-risking’ the US economy’s exposure to China
  • 🗺️ But Yellen, who warned earlier this year that “a full separation of our economies would be disastrous for both countries,” used a third d-word during her trip, saying the US wants to “diversify its critical supply chains.

Intrigue’s take: From a Chinese perspective, it probably doesn’t matter which word the US chooses if it continues to impose trade tariffs and technology bans against China and goes through with plans to introduce new restrictions on American investment in Chinese defence technology.

The good news is that Yellen spent more than 10 hours in meetings getting to know China’s new economic leaders.

And it seems she made quite an impression; the Global Times (the Chinese Communist Party’s famously strident tabloid) reported that Chinese Premier Li Qiang said, “China-US ties can see ‘rainbows’ after a round of ‘wind and rain’”.

Also worth noting: