27 May 2023, 09:48

US, China wrangle on trade in rare talks

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - The United States and China sparred over
trade issues Friday but promised to keep lines of communication open as
Beijing's commerce minister paid a rare visit after a period of soaring

Minister Wang Wentao met US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on the
sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade meeting in Detroit, a
day after he saw his counterpart Gina Raimondo in Washington.

Tai "discussed the importance of the US-China trade relationship in the
global economy and the need for both sides to continue engaging with one
another," her office said in a statement.

China's state-run Xinhua agency said that the meeting in Detroit was "candid,
pragmatic and in-depth."

It said Wang raised concern about US trade policies as well as on Taiwan, the
self-ruling democracy which Beijing claims and has not ruled out taking by

Both Tai and Raimondo in turn voiced concern about China's actions against US
companies. China recently restricted purchases from US chip giant Micron,
citing security risks.

The move was widely interpreted as retaliation after President Joe Biden
imposed a sweeping ban on China's access to US advanced semiconductors,
fearing that Beijing will put them to military use and dominate the global
market for emerging technologies.

It was one of the first visits by a high-ranking Chinese official since Biden
took office, although the environment minister traveled to Washington last

High-level dialogue ground to a halt during the Covid-19 pandemic as Chinese
officials stayed home and Biden's predecessor Donald Trump sharply raised the
tone against Beijing, including over the virus.

Biden met in November with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bali with the two
leaders both saying that they would work to keep tensions in check.

But the United States erupted in outrage in February after spotting what US
officials said was a Chinese surveillance drone over US soil, with Secretary
of State Antony Blinken calling off a visit to Beijing.

In the most substantive attempt to restore communication, Biden's national
security advisor, Jake Sullivan, met in Vienna earlier this month with top
Chinese diplomat Wang Yi.

China's new ambassador to Washington, Xie Feng, also met Thursday with the
State Department's third highest-ranking official, Victoria Nuland.

Xie, speaking on his arrival in Washington this week, said there were
"profound differences" between the two countries.

"This relationship has gone through many twists and turns in the past half
century, yet it has always been able to move ahead. The relationship is too
important for us to let it fail," he said.

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