Yellen to visit China this week
Why it matters: Yellen's trip, initially announced in January, was put on hold after President Biden ordered the military to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon after it flew across the U.S. in February.
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to China earlier this month to meet with his counterpart as well as President Xi Jinping for what Blinken called a “robust conversation."
Driving the news: Yellen will visit Beijing July 6-9 and meet with senior officials in China, where she plans to give a face-to-face version of her speech in April that laid out the three principles guiding America’s economic relationship with Beijing.
- She isn't scheduled to sit down with Xi, a senior treasury official said.
- Yellen does plan to raise concerns about Beijing's economic coercion while also explaining the Biden administration's expected executive order in outbound investment, the official said.
- "My hope in traveling to China is to reestablish contact," she said in an MSNBC interview last week, before the trip was announced. "There are a new group of leaders, we need to get to know one another."
Between the lines: Yellen has used previous meetings with Chinese officials to get a real-time readout of China's economy and discuss ways both countries can cooperate on shared challenges such as climate change and global growth.
Zoom out: After two difficult years in the U.S.-China relationship at the start of his presidency, Biden sought a new path at the G20 summit in Bali last November. But plans to improve the relationship were essentially frozen after the balloon incident.
- Blinken had constructive meetings in Beijing, but the two sides didn't agree to re-establish military-to-military contact. The relationship hit another bump last week when Biden called Xi a "dictator" at a fundraiser in California.
- The Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., issued a strong protest, but Biden dismissed the significance of his remarks, telling reporters: "I don’t think it’s had any real consequence."
- He said he will meet with Xi "in the near term."
Zoom in: The Biden administration has taken an aggressive approach in protecting critical technologies from Chinese companies, and in October imposed export controls on semiconductors.
- Officials are putting the finishing touches to an executive order to restrict outdoing investment into China's chip, quantum computing and artificial intelligence industries.
The bottom line: Officials don't expect Yellen's trip to resolve — or even address — all the thorny issues dividing the two countries.
- But administration officials want to improve the lines of communication on economic issues.