US commerce secretary visits China, calls for ‘stable’ ties

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo met with Chinese officials in Beijing as Washington tries to patch up relations between the world’s two biggest economies after years of heightened tensions.

Raimondo, who arrived in China on Sunday, is holding three days of meetings with Chinese officials and business leaders as US President Joe Biden’s administration seeks to stabilise ties.

Raimondo on Monday met Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, telling her counterpart it was “profoundly important” for the two countries to have stable relations.

“We share $700bn dollars of trade and I concur with you that it is profoundly important that we have a stable economic relationship,” Raimondo said, according to a readout from the US Department of Commerce.

“It’s a complicated relationship; it’s a challenging relationship. We will of course disagree on certain issues, but I believe we can make progress if we are direct, open, and practical.”

Raimondo’s visit comes after Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed at the G20 summit in Bali last year to “deepen communication” between their countries after years of rocky relations.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and climate envoy John Kerry have all visited China this year as part of the tentative thaw.

US-China relations have sunk to the lowest point in decades in recent years amid disputes over issues ranging from trade and national security to the war in Ukraine and the status of Taiwan.

The Biden administration has imposed a host of restrictions on Chinese trade and industry in response to alleged national security concerns, accelerating a trend that began under former President Donald Trump.

Beijing has blasted Washington’s moves as being “anti-globalisation” and an effort to thwart the rise of the world’s second-largest economy.

US officials have denied intending to stifle China’s economic growth, insisting they only wish to “de-risk” the countries’ economic ties.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES