Following a Visit to the PRC by the US Treasury Secretary

The visit of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to the People’s Republic of China from July 6 to 9 this year marked a significant development in relations between the two major international powers.

The significance of Janet Yellen’s trip to Beijing turns out to be more relevant, considering that it was given a low possibility a month ago, to the fact that it was accomplished. In light of the general strained condition of bilateral ties, the PRC leadership has demonstrated its willingness to engage in dialogue only with those members of the current US administration who, at the very least, do not display signs of hostility.

Meanwhile, Janet Yellen’s speech on April 20 at Johns Hopkins University, which generated a lot of noise and contained a number of scathing remarks directed at the present key geopolitical opponent. After that, she may find herself in the position of US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, joining those representatives of the US administration with whom the PRC leadership has so far avoided entering into business negotiations.

While maintaining communication connections between the two top participants in the present stage of the “Big World Game” is one of the mandatory conditions, its observance will avoid the risk of insurmountable divisions between different groups of players. With the game itself likely transitioning into a phase of general dumping with hand-to-hand combat.

That has frequently occurred throughout the history of mankind. Which, while nursing the wounds from the subsequent pogrom, is frequently difficult to say with precision and, in fact, due to all that occurred. And remembers some early trivia: someone looked at someone strangely after hearing a nasty comment in response. Or a devious guest took advantage of the host’s kindness and snatched the host’s lovely wife.

However, the current extremely high “cost of a misunderstanding issue” is the cause of the enormous risk of insufficient responses to this type of “trivia”.  Since the start of the “return to historical roots” movement in Europe five or six centuries ago, whose foundations were tied to the very concept of “abduction,” it has been rising fast.

But the unavoidable companion of the beginning of “progress” with the quick expansion of information about the real surrounding environment, the answer to many existential problems, was the steady improvement of the arsenal of murder weapons. If they are employed to their maximum potential in a certain developing conflict today, there will most likely be no one to make up another fairy tale about the reasons for everything that has occurred.

Because of this, it is crucial to preserve and use the channels of political communication between the major players of the globe in particular, as well as between them, for the purposes for which they were meant. They are essential in the first place for exchanging viewpoints on certain emerging issues and, at the very least, for outlining one’s own position to the opposition. At best, in attempting to harmonize the latter.

The mere fact of the visit of Treasury Secretary of the United States (and Antony Blinken’s visit earlier) confirms the parties’ desire to maintain open channels of communication on a bilateral basis. Although, based on the information now available, they have only been utilized in the simplest format described above, i.e., to clarify real positions regarding which the opponent may have had some misunderstandings.

But in this instance, it was mostly the guest who had to defend herself and the quite diverse spectrum of issues that Washington had brought about in recent years. They were outlined in a comment from the Ministry of Finance of the People’s Republic of China, following the visit by Janet Yellen. Because Beijing has only just begun to reply in the same spirit. Which could have acted as an extra motivation for Washington to demonstrate a desire to explain itself to Beijing.

Let us recall the astonishing change of the former’s rhetoric in the course of causing issues for the latter. At the close of the previous US administration, it became virtually uncompromising, with talk of total economic decoupling. From the author’s perspective, one of the actual repercussions of this economic absurdity, which was developed in certain political circles in the United States, was Boeing’s loss of the massive Chinese market for the selling of passenger aircrafts. Which is now successfully occupied by Europe’s Airbus.

Washington has concluded that decoupling is going too far. This is why, in recent months, the milder term de-risking has been employed, particularly at G7 events. This does not imply total “decoupling,” but rather just in the most advanced technological processes, notably those related to the creation of cutting-edge semiconductors. In fact, the above-mentioned “response” of Beijing, i.e., establishing control over the export of some of the rare-earth metals in the field of mining and primary processing, in which China is almost a monopolist, was provoked by the intention of its opponents to engage in this very “de-risking”.

Ms. Yellen herself used the phrase “healthy competition” to define the framework of relations with China in one of her interviews a few days before the discussed visit.

As a result, it is likely that during meetings with high officials as well as the Finance Minister of the People’s Republic of China, the guest was asked a generalized question: “So, Madam Minister, in our future relationship with you, what are we discussing: ’decoupling’ ’de-risking,” or “healthy competition? Or is it all nothing more than a play on words.”

The complexity of the situation that Janet Yellen found herself in Beijing, is also owing to the fact that Yellen had to deal with practically an entire set of challenges in relations between the United States, its allies, and the People’s Republic of China. Both those that presently exist and those that are developing new ones. Although the majority of them fall far outside the responsibility of the US Treasury Department. However, they are the ones that affect it most directly.

The trade and economic aspects of US-China relations must be viewed in the context of certain very significant and potentially disastrous tendencies in Washington’s foreign policy toward its allies. The most famous of them are initiatives to actually put into practice the time-honored idea of bringing together a variety of allied or even quasi-allied configurations operating under the auspices of Washington, but still in a pretty distinct structure.

Since the early 1990s, when the fact that China had transformed into a second world power became abundantly evident, there has been discussion about the necessity to expand the sphere of responsibility of the primary NATO member to the Asia-Pacific area. Building a “uni-Western” anti-Chinese military-political configuration may benefit from the creation of AUKUS and the warming relations between NATO and Japan, a crucial American ally in Asia. One of the primary outcomes of the most recent NATO summit in Vilnius was the further development of this second trend. Beijing is growing more apprehensive about plans to include South Korea as well as the reconciliation between Japan and NATO.

The US Treasury Secretary’s negotiations in China were clearly influenced by all of this unfavorable political background, and the outcomes were given a careful evaluation by Chinese analysts. At the conclusion of the visit under discussion, the status of the bilateral relations is described as being in a fragile thaw.

That is to say, it is inferred that there are currently too many unknowns influencing their future evolution to make any claims that are more or less certain.

Note also that Washington’s apparent attempts to at least halt the overall Russian-Chinese rapprochement process have not been successful. Beijing specifically accuses Washington and its closest allies of being the real offenders for fanning the flames of the war in Ukraine. The effective growth of relations between the PRC and the Russia is indicated by several aspects of the Russian Federation Council delegation’s visit to China.

Finally, continuation of the communication lines between the two great powers is the only good effect of the visit addressed here. To put it mildly, this is quite a lot in these uncertain times. In the case of another misunderstanding on “stealing a beauty,” these communication lines must be used immediately.

Today, it might be, for example, Taiwan.

By Vladimir Terekhov
Source: New Eastern Outlook

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *