Yellen to Chinese Officials: US National Security Will Not Be Compromised

Yellen to Chinese Officials: US National Security Will Not Be Compromised
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a press conference at the Beijing American Center of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on July 9, 2023. (Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, after a four-day trip to Beijing, said she told Chinese officials that U.S. national security will not be compromised.

In an interview with CBS on Sunday, Ms. Yellen said, “An objective of my trip was to explain that national security is something that we can’t compromise about and we will protect, and we will do so even if it harms our own narrow economic interests.”

Ms. Yellen wrapped up her trip on Sunday after holding talks with several senior Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials, including Premier Li Qiang, Vice Premier He Lifeng, China’s central bank governor Yi Gang, Party Secretary Pan Gongsheng, and former Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

However, Ms. Yellen did not meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month during his trip to China.

Like Mr. Blinken’s trip to China, Ms. Yellen’s trip did not result in any major breakthrough between the two countries.

“President [Joe] Biden and I do not see the relationship between the U.S. and China through the frame of great power conflict,” Ms. Yellen said in a press conference in Beijing on Sunday morning. “We believe that the world is big enough for both of our countries to thrive.”

Some Republicans have long criticized the Biden administration for not being tough on China, and have described the communist regime as an “existential threat” to the United States.

“Xi Jinping has made his intentions clear. He wants China to replace America as the world’s superpower,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) wrote on Twitter on July 8. “Communist China is not our friend, and Biden needs to stop acting like they are.”

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in its report (pdf) published in February, warned that China is using programs and initiatives—including the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Global Security Initiative—to “promote a China-led alternative” to the current international order, one that favors “state sovereignty and political stability over individual rights.”

Moving forward, Ms. Yellen said she expected both sides to have more regular communications at the staff level, though she admitted that she didn’t have anything specific about the future bilateral process.

Unfair Trade Practices

Ms. Yellen said she “pressed” the Chinese side about China’s unfair economic practices.

“That includes the breadth and depth of China’s non-market policies, along with barriers to market access for foreign firms and issues involving intellectual property,” she explained.

The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property estimated in 2017 that the U.S. economy suffers an annual loss of between $225 billion and $600 billion due to China’s IP theft each year.

In March, William Evanina, founder and CEO of Evanina Goup, said during a hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee that the Chinese regime uses a “whole-of-society” approach to steal intellectual property.

“The Communist Party of China uses intelligence services, science and technology investments, academic collaboration, research partnerships, joint ventures, front companies, mergers and acquisitions, and outright theft, insider threats, and cyber intrusions,” Mr. Evanina said.

He elaborated that China was going after trade secrets and intellectual property in sectors highlighted by its industrial policy known as “Made in China 2025,” such as aerospace, deep sea technology, biotechnology, information technology, clean energy, electric battery technology, and DNA genomics.

Beijing has also rolled out different talent recruitment programs, seeking to entice Chinese and foreign nationals in the technology and science sectors to go work in China. Some applicants in these programs have been accused by U.S. prosecutors of stealing intellectual property and trade secrets.

Ms. Yellen said she also expressed her concerns about “a recent uptick in coercive actions against American firms.”

U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology in June warned that Chinese sanctions put a “low-double-digit percentage” of global revenue at risk.

Three experts on Chinese politics and foreign affairs told The Epoch Times on Sunday that they do not see bilateral ties improving anytime soon. Neither do they foresee relations deteriorating to a point that the two sides decouple.


Ms. Yellen reiterated that Washington is not seeking to decouple from China—a policy endorsed by some Republicans and experts—saying that doing so would be “disastrous for both countries and destabilizing for the world.”

“There is an important distinction between decoupling, on the one hand, and on the other hand, diversifying critical supply chains or taking targeted national security actions,” she added, before adding that the United States would continue to take necessary “targeted actions” to protect its national interests and those of its allies.

She later added that any potential outbound investment curbs from the U.S. side would be done “in a transparent way” and “clearly directed narrowly at a few sectors” where Washington has specific national security concerns.

“I want to allay their fears that we would do something that would have broad-based impacts on the Chinese economy. That’s not the case. That’s not the intention,” she explained.

Feng Chongyi, a professor of China studies at the University of Technology Sydney, explained to The Epoch Times in an interview on Sunday that now is not the right time for Washington to decouple economically from Beijing due to high U.S. inflation and the Ukraine war.

The 12-month Consumer Price Index, a measure of annual inflation, stood at 4 percent in May. Inflation has remained at or above 4 percent since April 2021.

“The U.S. doesn’t want its inflation to get worse,” Mr. Feng said, explaining that prices could rise if the two nations decouple.

A U.S. decision to decouple from China could lead to a change in Beijing’s stance on the Ukraine war, prompting the communist regime to fully back the Kremlin’s war efforts, according to Mr. Feng.

In other words, Mr. Feng said the ongoing high-level talks between China and the United States serve a “calming” purpose, preventing the CCP from supporting Russia with its personnel and military supplies.

NTD Photo
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping (L) at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21, 2023. (Sergei Karpukhin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

As for Ms. Yellen, Mr. Feng explained that the Chinese regime sees her as someone that could help China.

“China wants the United States to back away from new sanctions through Yellen and the Wall Street companies, and continue to reap the benefits via [U.S.] trade and investment,” Mr. Feng said.

‘Irreconcilable’ Ties

Despite the Biden administration’s efforts to fix the bilateral ties, outside observers believe the tensions are inevitable, given that the ideological gulf between the United States and the communist regime in China plays a key role in driving the conflict.

“China’s rise relied on the West, mostly through the West’s open economic policy,” said Sun Kuo-hsiang, a professor of international relations at Nanhua University in Taiwan.

While the West initially expected the Chinese regime could transform itself into an open market through engagement, Mr. Sun said, “The CCP didn’t make any fundamental changes.”

Instead, the CCP turned its economy into a weapon, according to Tang Jingyuan, a U.S.-based China affairs commentator.

“With its economy developed, the CCP started to export its human rights abuses, unfair trade practices … to the whole world,” he said. “These trends made many countries, especially the United States, felt the severe threats to their own national security,” thus forcing them to take action to protect their own interests.

“This is one factor that soured the U.S.-China relations,” he said.

NTD Photo
Customers dine near a giant screen broadcasting news footage of aircraft under the Eastern Theatre Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) taking part in a combat readiness patrol and “Joint Sword” exercises around Taiwan, at a restaurant in Beijing on April 10, 2023. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Another element is Taiwan, Mr. Tang said.

In recent years, Mr. Xi has repeatedly vowed to annex Taiwan, a self-ruled island that the CCP views as its own territory, and his defense minister even directly threatened war to achieve that goal.

The regime has ramped up military threats against the democratically-governed Taiwan by continuing to send warplanes near the island on a regular basis. In 2022, China sent 1,727 military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, up from 960 in 2021 and 380 in 2020, according to the island’s defense ministry.

“The CCP’s strong intention that it wants to use force to break the status quo of the Taiwan Strait, even the South and East China Seas, has triggered alarms” in the United States and other democratic countries, said Mr. Tang.

For Mr. Tang, while Beijing and Washington agreed to continue communication, their widening drift is irreconcilable.

“The [U.S.–China] conflict is about ideology after all,” he said.

“So it is irreconcilable.”

Luo Ya contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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