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Anthony Blinken visits China – The New York Times

Anthony Blinken visits China – The New York Times

Secretary of State Antony Blinken cheered on the sidelines of a basketball game in Shanghai on Wednesday evening, and he spent Thursday chatting with students at NYU's Shanghai campus and meeting with American business owners. All of this went to underscore the kind of economic, educational, and cultural relations that the United States considers beneficial to both countries.

But overshadowing those niceties during his visit to China this week are several steps taken by the United States to cut economic ties in areas that the Biden administration says threaten American interests. These matters will be of greater interest to Chinese officials as well.

Even as the Biden administration attempts to stabilize the relationship with China, it is introducing several economic measures that would limit China's access to the American economy and technology. It is preparing to raise tariffs on Chinese steel, solar panels and other vital products to try to protect American factories from cheap imports. It is considering further restrictions on China's access to advanced semiconductors to try to prevent Beijing from developing advanced artificial intelligence that could be used on the battlefield.

This week, Congress also passed legislation that would force ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, to sell its stake in the app within nine to 12 months or leave the US entirely. The president signed it on Wednesday, although the measure is likely to be challenged in court.

In a meeting with the Communist Party secretary in Shanghai on Thursday morning, Blinken said direct communication between the United States and China was valuable and necessary.

“We have an obligation to our people – and even an obligation to the world – to manage the relationship between our two countries responsibly,” he said.

Speaking to students at NYU's Shanghai campus later that morning, he said the educational exchanges in which the students participated provided “heft” to a complex and confrontational relationship.

Since President Biden met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in California in November, relations between the United States and China have appeared more stable, with nothing resembling the dramatic ups and downs of trade wrangling under former President Donald J. Trump.

But the Biden administration is still moving toward a more restrictive economic relationship with China.

This includes imposing controls on semiconductor technology, which both sides raise as a more prominent issue than ever. The Biden administration has been considering imposing more export controls, especially on factories that help produce advanced semiconductors for Chinese tech giant Huawei.

“By explicitly trying to diminish Chinese technological capabilities, especially in advanced artificial intelligence, the United States has moved export controls to the forefront of the US-China agenda,” said Emily Benson, a trade expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Washington Research Center.

In a call between Biden and Mr. Xi earlier this month, both leaders raised technology controls as issues of central importance.

Biden stressed that the United States will continue to take the necessary measures to prevent the use of advanced American technologies to undermine its national security, without unjustifiably restricting trade and investment, according to the White House.

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Imposing new sanctions on China does not mean “getting rid of risks,” but rather creates risks, Mr. Xi said. He added that if the United States was determined to “contain China's high-tech development and deprive China of its legitimate right to development, China would not sit back and watch.” Accordingly Official Xinhua News Agency.

US officials say the restrictions they are imposing are necessary given China's authoritarian government and the country's economic model. But the moves have angered Chinese leaders and pushed tensions over economic measures to their highest levels in years.

These measures do not come only from the United States government. Susan Shirk, author of “Overtaking: How China Derailed Its Peaceful Rise,” said that China has shifted towards a more self-sufficient industrial policy and seeks to replace the United States. The United States as a high-tech superpower under Mr. Xi.

“Xi openly admits that while he wants China to be less dependent on other countries, he wants to keep other countries dependent on China “as a strong countermeasure and deterrent,” as he put it, “against cutting off supplies,” Al-Shirk said.

China has also allowed security concerns to affect a larger proportion of its economy, even as Xi and other Chinese leaders have tried to reassure foreign companies that their investments are welcome. A new national security law has expanded Beijing's reach into Hong Kong, threatening the city's status as a financial hub. American executives have been concerned about China's investigations into foreign companies, as well as the country's broader rules against sharing data and information with foreigners.

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Despite China's complaints about the US government's efforts to crack down on TikTok, China itself has banned other Western social media services for decades. Apple said last week that Beijing had ordered it to remove WhatsApp and Threads from app stores in China.

Blinken and other US officials emphasized that US export controls, sanctions and other restrictions on Chinese technology companies apply to only a small part of the broader US-China relationship. They say trade is being encouraged elsewhere.

In a report this week, the US-China Business Council, a group of 270 US companies operating in China, estimated that US exports to China supported more than 900,000 US jobs in 2022, despite a decline in goods exports in 2023 due to China's weakness. The economy, US tariffs and other factors.

“It is important for us to remind US lawmakers and those in influential positions that every state and congressional district in the United States maintains its own economic and trade relations with China, and changes in US-China trade policy should be considered very carefully,” he said. Craig Allen, group president.

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