(Washington) The United States wants to have a “ constructive and fair” economic relationship with China, without however compromising on national security issues, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Thursday, as tensions remain high between the two superpowers.
“ We seek a healthy economic relationship with China: a relationship that promotes growth and innovation in both countries ”, declared the Minister of Economy and Finance of Joe Biden, during a speech at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington.
But not at any price: “ A growing China, which respects international rules, is good for the United States and the world ”, she said.
Ms. Yellen thus assured that the United States would “not compromise” on national security concerns, “even when it forces compromises with (their) economic interests”.
Tensions have been high for years between the world’s two largest economic powers. The trade war launched by former US President Donald Trump in 2019 did not end with the arrival of Joe Biden in the White House, although it now has a more diplomatic face.
From now on, the economic battle is being played out, in particular, in the field of the manufacture of semiconductors, these electronic components essential to the operation of smart phones, connected cars, but also military equipment.
In the name of national security, Washington has increased sanctions against Chinese chipmakers in recent months. A historic fine of $ 300 million was thus imposed on Wednesday on a supplier of the Chinese giant Huawei – in the crosshairs of Washington for reasons of cybersecurity and suspicions of espionage.
“These national security actions are not designed to allow us to gain competitive economic advantage or to stifle China’s economic and technological modernization,” said Janet Yellen.
“Even though these policies may have economic impacts, they are driven by simple national security considerations,” she warned.
For economist Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), “an American strategy that recognizes China’s right to modernize and recognizes that there are economic costs to pursuing laudable national security goals is a sustainable, reality-based starting point for a strategy that is neither a crusade nor a fantasy”.
Beijing last month accused Washington of stoking tensions, and warned of the risk of “conflict”.
In February, the destruction by the United States of a Chinese balloon had strained relations, the Biden administration accusing the device of spying on its territory, which China strongly denies. More recently, it is the status of Taiwan that has been at the heart of the tensions.
“ We will not compromise on the protection of human rights ”, warned Ms. Yellen, “ we have acted and will continue to act ”.
The Minister, who again mentioned her intention to visit China, “ at the appropriate time ”, also indicated that the United States would continue to “associate with (their) allies to respond to the unfair economic practices of the China ”.
Recent remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron had raised questions among France’s allies, including the United States. Back from China, he had called on the Europeans not to be “ followers ” regarding Taiwan with regard to Beijing or Washington, as well as to “ less depend on the Americans ” in terms of defense, then had, a few days later , pleaded for greater economic autonomy for Europe.
“ Macron, who is a friend, is with China licking his ass ”, commented former President Donald Trump, who had started a trade war against China in 2019, when he was at home. -White.