White House says talks in the works for Secretaries Yellen, Raimondo to visit China, discuss economic issues
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stressed the importance of keeping lines of communication open between China and the United States
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Monday revealed that a potential trip to China by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo was in the works.
The possibility of high-level talks would come as relations between the globe’s two largest economies have plummeted since the U.S. military shot down a Chinese spy balloon after it had traversed North America last month. The incident prompted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone a trip to China.
Kirby said there were no scheduled talks between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Still, he stressed the need to keep lines of communication open – particularly now when tensions are so high.
"We’re having discussions with the [People’s Republic of China] right now about a potential visit by Secretary Yellen and Secretary Raimondo to go over there and talk about economic issues," Kirby said. "Keeping those lines of communication open is still valuable."
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Kirby said the possibility for Blinken to visit China was not off the table.
"That visit was postponed, it wasn’t canceled," he said. "We will want to get Secretary Blinken back to Beijing."
Secretary Yellen has been in the headlines in recent days in the aftermath of Silicon Valley Bank in California and Signature Bank in New York.
Last week, the Treasury Secretary was grilled by GOP lawmakers over the decision to protect uninsured money at the two failed regional banks – a move many likened to a "bailout."
Yellen told senators at a Capitol hearing that the U.S. banking system "remains sound" and Americans "can feel confident" about the safety of their deposits.
During the hearing, Yellen disclosed that the U.S. banking system could potentially allow for Chinese Communist Party-linked (CCP) Silicon Valley Bank depositors to be "made whole."
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Asked by Sen. James Lanklord, R-Okla., whether regional banks will have to pay a special assessment "to make Chinese investors whole in Silicon Valley Bank, the secretary replied: "Uninsured investors will be made whole in that bank, and I suppose that could include foreign depositors, but I don’t believe there is any legal basis to discriminate among uninsured depositors."
FOX Business’ Andrea Vacchiano contributed to this report.