Chinese Vice Premier in San Francisco calls for promotion of pragmatic development of China-US relations
Published: Nov 10, 2023 09:23 PM


Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng said he hopes to communicate China's "key concerns on the economy" with the US and promote the pragmatic development of China-US relations, as he started two days of meetings with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in San Francisco on Thursday.

The new round of economic and trade talks was held after intensifying cabinet-level engagements between the world's two largest economies recently seeking to stabilize bilateral ties. Chinese experts said it shows Chinese government's "practical attitude" toward the trade talks, adding that the trade dialogue will further increase understanding and avoid misjudgments. 

The first day's meeting was held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in San Francisco, with 18 people participating in the talks from the US delegation, including translators, and 19 people from the Chinese side, according to the VOA.

One picture shows the delegations from the two countries sitting on each side, facing each other across a swath of marigold flowers. A VOA reporter said that the talks were taking place in a relatively warm and moderate atmosphere, a reflection of the recent improvement in relations between the two countries.

The Chinese Vice Premier said at the meeting that he hopes to build on the good foundation of Beijing talks to further discuss in-depth issues related to the global, economic and financial fields of China and the US, and communicate China's "key concerns on the economy," according to Phoenix Television.

He also said the meeting is aiming to create a better investment and business environment for enterprises of both countries, and promote the pragmatic development of China-US relations with more favorable and effective consensuses and measures. 

Reuters reported that Yellen said the US has no desire to decouple from China, saying, "A full separation of our economies would be economically disastrous for both our countries, and for the world." 

It is the second time the two have had a face-to-face meeting in four months, after meeting in July in Beijing, and the first time in-person gatherings were held after US-China economic and financial forums were launched in October.

He's speech shows the Chinese government's pragmatism, which means China is willing to place priority on issues of common interest and put aside controversial areas, Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday.

China and the US have not held dialogues at this level for years, and it will take some time to restore normal communications, which will help avoid misjudgment in some sectors, including the longstanding Chinese objections to US tariffs on its exports and restrictions on US investment in China, Zhou Mi, deputy director of the Institute of American and Oceania Studies of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times on Friday.

We cannot expect our economic and trade relations with the US to go back on track overnight, but it will inject confidence into the market if relations do not get worse, Zhou said. 

With China-US relations suffering serious difficulties in the past few years and hitting their lowest point since the establishment of diplomatic ties, there has also been a growing call for the downward spiral to be stopped.

Chinese Ambassador to the US, Xie Feng, also hailed signs of a more stable China-US relationship, but said relations still face grave challenges.

The top priority is for both sides to make joint efforts toward a meeting between the two presidents in San Francisco. To move toward San Francisco, it is important to return to the Bali consensus, and earnestly act on the important common understanding reached between the two presidents in Bali; to enhance whole-process management, foster a sound atmosphere before dialogue, build up positive outcomes during the process, and take solid follow-up actions afterwards; and to work in the same direction, clear obstacles and manage differences with concrete actions, and enhance dialogue and cooperation in good faith, Xie said on Thursday when he attended the Hong Kong Forum on US-China Relations 2023.

Despite their pledges of not seeking to decouple from or contain China, US officials have continued to impose restrictions on Chinese companies, including an executive order on restrictions of high-end artificial intelligence (AI) chips last month. 

However, US chip maker Nvidia plans to release new AI chips aimed at the Chinese market less than a month after US officials tightened the rules on selling high-end AI chips to China, Reuters reported. 

Experts say Washington's increasingly stringent ban on China will only be counterproductive and seriously harm the interests of relevant American companies. 

China is constantly promoting the advancement of technology, especially in AI and other related aspects, which requires large amounts of chips and product support. Foreign companies cannot bypass China's huge market, and in fact, the industry cannot afford to lose the Chinese market, they said.