Shy smiles from the U.S. and China on trade — Yellen meets Liu

Foreign Affairs

United States Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen met China’s top America-whisperer, Liu He, over a cordial “introductory virtual meeting.”

How much worse could it get? Chinese Vice Premier Liú Hè 刘鹤 and Trump’s hand at the signing ceremony for the “phase one” U.S.-China trade agreement in Washington, on January 15, 2020. Detail from photo by REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque.

China’s top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liú Hè 刘鹤, spoke with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen via video call yesterday.

“In recent months, Beijing has indicated its desire to restore regular, high-level meetings between China and the U.S.,” says the Wall Street Journal, which also notes that Liu’s “call with Ms. Yellen marked the continuation of his role as Beijing’s point man for the U.S.-China economic relations, at least for the near term.”

The takeaway: No substantial changes in U.S.-China ties are coming, but the two sides have begun talking at senior levels again. It’s not going to be easy, as a brief scan of today’s headlines about the two countries illustrates: