A senior Chinese official tells the US Commerce Secretary that he is willing to improve cooperation


BEIJING (AP) — The top Chinese official in charge of economic relations with Washington told Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Tuesday that he is ready to “make new positive efforts” to improve cooperation after a deal to reduce trade tension by launching groups to discuss export controls and other trade disputes. .

Monday’s agreement was the most significant outcome yet of a series of visits by US officials to Beijing over the past three months to revive relations that have reached their lowest point in decades. They are optimistic about improved communication, but neither side has given indication that it is willing to compromise on disputes over technology, security, human rights and other concerns.

Vice Premier He Lifeng struck an optimistic tone, referring to the “in-depth exchanges” he had in July with his US counterpart, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

“I am willing to work with you on the basis of this, to make new positive efforts to deepen our consensus and expand our cooperation,” he told Raimondo during a meeting in the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing.

The two governments are set to launch an “information exchange” about US controls on technology exports that have angered Beijing, although they have defended the restrictions as necessary for national security and given no indication they might be loosened.

“I look forward to finding ways that we can engage more actively on commercial issues that affect our relationship,” Raimondo told He. She said President Joe Biden “asked me to reiterate to you our desire to have a more open engagement.”

Beijing broke off dialogue on military, climate and other issues with Washington in August 2022 in response to then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. The mainland’s ruling Communist Party claims the self-ruled democratic island as part of its territory and objects to any government having official contact.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s government is trying to revive investor interest in China and reassure foreign companies as part of efforts to reverse the economic slump.

One of China’s main complaints is restrictions on access to processor chips and other US technology for security reasons that threaten to derail the ruling Communist Party’s efforts. Ambitious to develop artificial intelligence and other industries. restrictions Smartphone business crippled Huawei Technologies Ltd, the first global technology brand in China.

Raimondo defended the Biden administration’s strategy of “de-risking,” or encouraging more high-tech manufacturing in the United States and developing more sources of industrial supply to reduce disruption. Beijing criticized it as a possible attempt to isolate China and hinder its development.

“Although we will never compromise on protecting our national security, I want to be clear that we do not seek decoupling or hindering the Chinese economy,” Raimondo told He.

Also on Tuesday, Raimondo met with Chinese Minister of Culture and Tourism Hu Heping. She said they agreed to “strengthen relations between our two peoples by increasing tourism and educational and student exchanges.”

China is gradually reviving outbound tourism after lifting anti-virus controls that prevented most travel to and from the country for three years. The number of foreign students in China has dropped to nearly zero during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The visits come under an agreement reached by Xi and Biden during their meeting last November in Indonesia. The Chinese official press has given them positive coverage, but Beijing has given no indication that it might change trade, strategic, market access and other policies that trouble Washington and its Asian neighbors.

This article originally appeared on apnews.com

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