US and Chinese finance ministers meet to prepare for Biden-Xi talks


Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and her Chinese counterpart will meet in San Francisco on Thursday for two days of talks aimed at making progress on a slew of economic issues at a time when competition has markedly intensified between the two countries.
Yellen’s talks with Vice Premier He Lifeng are designed to help lay the groundwork for an expected meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping next week on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco, which would be their first engagement in nearly a year.
The White House is not expecting the face-to-face meeting to result in major changes to the relationship between the two nations, according to a person familiar with the planning, although it hopes to see some signs of progress. Analysts say expectations should be kept low, given the competitive nature of the countries’ relationship.
Nicholas Szechenyi, deputy director for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said at a preview event for the APEC summit that “it seems difficult for the United States to credibly emphasize themes such as inclusiveness, interconnectedness — the themes of this year’s APEC summit — when the primary driver for U.S. economic strategy in the Indo-Pacific is not economic cooperation, necessarily, but rather economic competition.”