WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior U.S. Treasury Department official met with Chinese counterparts in Beijing last week, sources familiar with the matter said, reflecting Treasury’s continued desire to maintain open channels of communication with China.
Robert Kaproth, a deputy assistant secretary focused on Asia, held technical discussions aimed at improving the ability of both countries to work together on macroeconomic and financial issues and shared global challenges, the sources said.
The visit, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, was a normal working-level visit and not focused on preparing a visit to China by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, they added.
While that visit is on hold for now, Yellen told reporters last week that communication between the world’s two largest economies was important for the rest of the world.
Some engagements between Washington and Beijing have been suspended following the downing of a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that floated over the continental United States, leaving the timing of previously planned visits to China by Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken unclear.
Blinken on Wednesday said he has no plans to meet either the foreign ministers of Russia or of China during Group of 20 (G20) meetings in New Delhi this week.
Yellen said she did not have any details on timing of her visit, adding: “I believe we will resume at an appropriate time those discussions.”
The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday said it still believes in keeping lines of communication with China open, despite a spike in tensions between the two countries in recent weeks.
“The administration’s approach to China has not changed. We still believe it is important to keep the lines of communication open, now more than ever. At the same time, the administration will always do what’s required to defend our national security.”
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Marguerita Choy)